BOOK SIX BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

BOOK 6
BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword
Flashback
CHAPTER 1: BACK TO BASICS
ABC’s of business; Laughing all the Way to the Bank; That’s a Record
CHAPTER 2: LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS
Belonging and Caring; They Didn’t Feel They Belong; I am an Exception; ‘I Want to Belong”
CHAPTER 3: FORK IN THE ROAD
Meanwhile, Back at the Massacre; Where is the Fork in the Road? The Bear Went Over the Mountain; Maybe we Should Have Gone Another way; Pushing Through the Storm; The Storm is Over; the Healing Begins.
CHAPTER 4: WHAT IS YOUR MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION? Van Won the Coin Toss; What Would You Die For? A Much Larger Picture; Business on Wheels; You Already Have What You Want, So What is Your Passion? What is It? Two-minute Commercial
CHAPTER 5: “LET EVERYTHING BE DONE DECENTLY AND IN ORDER”
Goal Statement; Unearthing the Past; “For God is not a God of Confusion”; Win-Win; Watch Your Stinking Thinking; Do Something Different
CHAPTER 6: “BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN”
Meetings, Seminars and Trainings; Doing it right; Dressing up and out of retirement
CHAPTER 7: THE ENDING IS ONLY A BEGINNING
The Money Game; Business on the Road,; Answered Prayers; The Shortcut; Push Through the Storm; A Thousand Springs; Our People Make the Difference; “Come Here, go Away; Joanie and Little Ralph Take a Break; Reality Shift; An Appropriate Ending
CHAPTER 8: A MATTER 0F TIME
Time Game; A Different Kind of Memorial Day; A Time for Silence; And a Time for Speaking; Flashbacks in the Laundry Room; From Mufflers to Radiators; Back in Time
CHAPTE 9: WITH CHILDLIKE WONDER
Along the Way; Illusion or Reality? Another Reason for Wonderment; And a Wonder-full Meal; Secret Caves and Hidden Objects; The Indian Head; George Washington and a Porthole; Ghost Town: Simnasho and Wapinitia; Another Fork in the Road; Bear Springs at Night; Bear Springs in Daytime; Huckleberry Ice Cream Cones in the Fog; Sometimes I Wonder About Little Ralph
CHAPTER 10: OUT OF THE WOODS
Now, We Know Where we Stand; Can You Pass This Test? Life Beyond the Test; I Am Woman; “I Thought You Were Mad at Me”
CHAPTER 11: A MAZE-ING GRACE
Overcoming Obstacles; The Graces are Amazing; Dead-Ends and Detours; “All You Have to do is…”; The Rose Festival Maze; MAX: The Amazing Light Rail; A Maze of Roses; A Japanese Garden Maze; The Zoo; is a Maze Too; In Mortal Combat; Red Tape and Freeway Maze; riding the Bumper Cars in Your Mind
CHAPTER12: MARQUAM GOES BACK TO BASICS
Deja-vu; Let the Lessons Begin! “But the Pickup was Rarely Driven;” Seems Like Old Times; Second Time Around; Why Did that Happen?
CHAPTER 13: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR DASH?
It’s Your Life; Four Fear Motivators and One More; What is Your Purpose? An “Above Line” Day, The Dash Called Linda; Van Adds a Line to His Dash
CHAPTER 14: A New Day is Dawning; Visit with Mom and family time at the Warren Homestead.
CHAPTER 15: A DAY WITH HEIDI
The Columbia River Gorge; Mt. Hood View; Mt. Hood Meadows; Lost Lake; Hood River Valley and Apple Orchards; The Mystical Fidel’s in Bingen; “Business Can be Fun”;
CHAPTER16: WHAT IS THE INEVITABLE?
A school friend:; A Stroll through Old Shaniko; Second Time Around; In a Flurry of Hyped Energy; Now What? Gail’s departure; A Knock on the Door; Not “The Big One”; Getting on with God’s Business; Is This Inevitable, or What? God’s Love is “The Inevitable” CHAPTER 17: LET FREEDOM RING
Freedom: A Hometown Parade; Star Wars: Episode 1; Government Camp; Washington D.C.; “Fireworks”; Family Gatherings; Live Life Fully
CHAPTER 18: CHANGING MONEY PATTERNS
Our Spending Plan; God’s Intervention; Rendezvous with Marquam; Health Awareness Seminar; God Always Provides; Bye Bye Water Pump; A Day at the Beach with Marquam; Sometimes it’s Expedient to Follow Familiar Routes
Recognizing Childhood Issues as the cause of Money Patterns; Replacing them
CHAPTER 19: CAN WE MAKE HILLSBORO BEFORE DARK?
More Patterns: RV Repairs; Unavailable Parent; Rewriting and Writing
CHAPTER 20: I AM FREE IN SPIRIT
Father Substitutes; “With This Ring, I Thee Wed”; Let’s do Lunch; God Fulfills His Promise; The Mysteries of Life
CHAPTER 21: WILL THE REAL ME PLEASE STAND UP!
Who Am I? Suiting-up for Business; All of the Above; This Time it’s for Real; The Girls go to Town; The Pattern is Changed; (The True Me; The Real Me; Many Roles and Titles; Campout at Indian Ford With Gail); Therapy or Support Group? My Idea of Roughing it…! Not Over, Yet; “I and the Father are One
CHAPTER 22: GETTING ON WITH BUSINESS
Parking Lot Transactions; Gail gets results; Thunder and Lightning; Business Spending Plan; Dottie and Steve at Convention; “Turned Out to Pasture”? Celebration with a Light Show; “It’s Time to Let Go”; It’s Time to Move on
CHAPTER 23: AN INTERLUDE
The Best Way Out is Always Through; Trout Creek Campground; Taking a vacation from the mountains to the sea; Winchester Bay; Tillicum Natl. Forest Campground; Waldport, Lincoln City, Spirit Mountain;
CHAPTER 24: WIN SOME; LOSE SOME: NEXT
“If They Don’t Want it, Let Them go”; Supporting Without Crippling; Isn’t It Right
CHAPTER 25: DOTTIE’S BACK IN TOWN
Barbecues and Lunches; Life Often Gets in the Way of Business the Way of Business
CHAPTER 26: A MATTER OF TIMING
When it’s Over, it’s Over; Keeping Balance; It’s Time to Say “Goodbye”

BUSINESS ON THE ROAD

FOREWORD

All Grown-up Now
When I was a child, I had a book titled, Manners Can Be Fun, designed to teach children manners in cartoon form. But, I never cared all that much for it, despite characters, such as Smash, Rip, and Ruin. My original title for this book was Business can be Fun. My inner child may be dubious about any so-called “fun” associated with business. But the point of this book is that the inner kids, Joanie and Little Ralph (my husband, Van’s inner child), have completed their growing-up process, as seen throughout the first five books in the Travel Series. Now, we are ready to move forward into our adult phase, as we continue our full-time lifestyle in our 35 ft. Holiday Rambler motor home, with a new dimension: Business on the Road. However, it is essential that we continue to have fun.

Coast-to-Coast; Border-to-Border
The first two years were strictly retirement and fun, as we traveled from coast-to-coast and border-to-border. I waded in the Pacific Ocean from California to Oregon, and dipped into the Atlantic Ocean in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina attempting to cool-off in 104 degree heat and high humidity. And I managed to get my toe pinched by a crab in the Gulf of Mexico in South Padre Island, Texas, and nursed wounds from biting flies in Mississippi. I even waved from the sand dunes to the Blue Angels, as they tipped their wings, above us (across from their home base in Pensacola, Florida). And finally, at Lake Michigan, I completed my visit to the four great bodies of water, as I walked along the shore, and atop the lying bear dunes, and also on a rocky jetty, and then crossed the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge over Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Later, we headed West, across Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota, where we visited The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Chimney Rock (featured in the movie Close Encounters), and Deadwood, where my grandfather, who was also my adopted father, lived.

Family, Friends, Freedomers
Along the way, we spent time with family, friends, and new acquaintances; and I even visited seven Freedomers (my name for inmates, in my Inner Freedom Ministry, who are seeking inner freedom, while serving time): five inside prison, and two, who are successfully making it outside.
Wounded Child to Wonder Child
All these adventures are shared in my Travel Series, as I weave Van’s and my inner journey, while our inner kids heal and grow up from their wounded childhood to wonder child. And part of our journey took us through our Twelve Step Recovery Programs and process: Van came to grips with his obsessive-compulsive disorder that manifested as the Silas Marner Complex, as I call his more-less syndrome. And I faced, recognized and healed my codependency compulsion to fix and care-take.

New Energies
Now, with these inner journeys behind us, we are ready to move forward, as we build our networking business and share our journey along the way. Also, we’ve changed our names to new energies for beginning this venture.

Names and Numbers of Players
As always, my Travel Series begins in Lakewood, Colorado (near Denver), our base between journeys, at the home of my daughter, Dottie, and her husband, Steve, and their daughters: teenager Airica, who is seldom home, since she turned 16, got her driver’s license and car; and a job at a pizza parlor; their twenty-three-year-old daughter, Arianna, who lives nearby, with her significant other, Jason. They are also building their own business, and will be mentioned throughout our travels.

A Family Stir
A family stir took place when their adorable four-month-old puppy, Buddy (part Australian Dingo and Chow), came to live at Dottie and Steve’s, because dogs are not allowed in Arianna’s apartment. This sudden upheaval did not go over too well with Rascal, the family Australian Sheep Dog, whose duties include shepherding every member of the family. Buddy was okay, as a visiting playmate, but when he arrived as a full-time member of the household, Rascal turned into a cantankerous grump. And the other important members of our family, three calico cats (mother and daughters), took turns sniping at Buddy, if he got too close.

More Branches on the Family Tree
The Colorado family tree is completed with my great-grandson, Brandon (almost 10), and his dad, Earl, who is divorced from my granddaughter, Christina.
So, it’s obvious that the Colorado members are involved in building the Family Business. And this book begins, after signing up my son, Marquam, who lives in Oregon.

Long-distance Networking
This long distance sign-up meant many phone calls and trips to the post office, but the task was accomplished, with our promise to drive our motor home to Oregon and help him build his business.

Our Responsibility
In the meantime, it was our responsibility to learn how. And our sponsors job to make sure we knew what we were doing.

FLASHBACK

Here we go Again!
While visiting Dottie and Steve, after having been apart awhile, the energies are high and we enjoy each other’s company.
One night I asked Dottie, “What’s happening tonight?”
She replied, “Let’s talk.”
Delighted with the opportunity to chat, I started talking about the movies, Titanic, and Wag the Dog, and the similarities of the current sexual charges involving President Clinton.
Suddenly, they began presenting another program they’d become involved in; not an MLM, but Network Marketing (a different format). As we listened, Ralph seemed quite enthusiastic, to my amazement.
For my part, I thought, “Here we go again.” But after hearing all the information, and their new viewpoints, plus seeing videos about the health products, I was interested.

“What is it?”
Within a short time they began talking about a new product they were using, and the network marketing company they had signed up with. I grimaced at the prospect of them being involved, especially after the trauma of the MLM that had led to our bankruptcy, after we’d all attempted to make it work. But their enthusiasm grew as the story unfolded, and much to my surprise, I noticed Van looking interested.
Steve handed us a bottle of OPC-3, one of the products, and said, “We want you to try this, and let us know how it works.”

We appreciated his gift, but having learned from the past MLM that it’s best to pay our way, Van paid for the bottle, and we both used it while there.

Within the first week, we noticed significant changes. I noticed many health symptoms clear up, and felt overall, much better. My night leg cramps had disappeared, and we both were going to sleep easily, and sleeping sounder. My eyes and vision were improving, and several other physical conditions were eliminated. Most importantly, Van’s mental alertness was returning, and his entire attitude was more like his wonderful self.

“I Want Some”
One day, while having my massage, I mentioned about the benefits we were receiving from the OPC product that Dottie and Steve are marketing. Helena, my masseuse said, “I want some.” And she continued, “I’ve been reading about those ingredients.” Then she added, “And I want to put all my massage customers on the product too.”

Later, after telling Van about her interest, he brought in our bottle, and she said, “I’d like to buy a bottle.”
I said, “Helena, the amount is about the same, what would you think about exchanging the OPC for the massage?”
“Good idea,” she said.
Van completed the transaction by giving her one of our extra bottles.

“Yes” or “No”
When we returned to Dottie and Steve’s, we told them our story about the first sale of OPC-3, and our need for another bottle. They were quietly excited, having been through the former MLM where everything was super hyped. But we still maintained that we would only sell product; not become distributors.

From time to time we’d discuss the business, and Ralph was impressed with their marketing plan. However, the prospect of involvement in another MLM business, even though it’s a different format and called network marketing, was frightening. Yet, I felt that we’d all changed the patterns that had caused the disaster of our first business partnership, and we wouldn’t repeat the past mistakes. So, our first impulse was to say “Yes.”
One evening I shared my insights about the MLM matter, “In retrospect, it seems as if another of our mutual patterns, “wanting to be part of” (belonging) took over, and that’s why we felt tempted to again rush down the Garden Path into a slippery situation.”

Ralph readily agreed.
Fortunately, no effort was made to have us sign up. In the meantime, while revising Dottie’s edits on Recognizing and Changing Money Patterns, and rereading the contents, I became painfully aware of our past partnerships and fiascoes. Over the years, our recovery process had given us a clear understanding of ourselves, and what would and would not work, and we could each move forward with our own lives.

Monday was to be our departure day, so we sat down with Dottie and Steve for a last visit. Much to my amazement, Van asked about signing up for their business. He explained that he had been impressed with this company’s format and business plan, and he really wanted to participate.
Furthermore, he seemed like a different person, or I should say, the wonderful person I’d first married, before his trauma from his job layoff. In fact, with his pattern changes and happy inner child, he was better than before, because now he was a whole person.
We all agreed that the money lessons we had learned would be wasted, were we not to put them into application one more time.

I knew that Van needed something to get excited about and to occupy his time and thoughts; and I was willing to support anything that would motivate his interest, especially if there was a possibility of increasing our finances.
But I also knew that I must continue to focus on my writing, and this time I would not allow myself to be sidetracked into putting all my energies and interest into his project. If I’d learned nothing else from my CoDA program, pattern changes, and Recovery, I knew that I must separate his business from mine.
As much as I dreamed of a teamwork relationship, this was not the answer, so I went to bed and left them to complete the sign-up procedure. But they were all tired, and decided to finish the paperwork in the morning.

The Time Was Right
But, we were still in a retirement mode, during our travels, and didn’t make much effort with the business. And I didn’t feel fulfilled, because I felt as if Recognizing and Changing Money Patterns was another incompletion. I knew there was more. Yet, when I asked God for guidance and direction, He would reply, “Just keep writing.” So I did.

And finally, after the turning of the millennium, with the energy shifts, the time was right. Without any intellectual reasoning on my part, the pieces of the puzzle began to fit into place.

Chapter 1
BACK TO BASICS

ABC’s of Business
As I thought about the changes I’d been going through relating to our involvement in the business, the words clearly appeared: Attitude, Balance, Commitment, Decision, Enthusiasm, and Faith, or was it Flexibility? In any event all were required for me to make the transition from my focus on writing and my ministry to building a networking business.

What is it?
“What is it?” That’s the first Lesson: answering the question everyone asks when we try to tell them about our network business. Our answers were to reflect an explanation of our business, as it would be presented to a prospect. Steve and Dottie gave us the answers in their words, but our assignment was to put the same material into our own words and share with the group in a week.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Van volunteered, and I almost fell off my chair, as he launched into a professional role-playing process with Steve, giving an illustration that caused the two salesmen present to applaud, along with the rest of us.

However, although Van had given a good illustration of a presentation, it didn’t answer anything; it simply returned the questions, until the prospects curiosity was piqued enough to attend a Kick-Off meeting, which would be presented by those more qualified than ourselves.

My heart swelled with joy and pride over Van’s accomplishment; and I knew that we were entering into a new era in our lives. As I said to him, “Your methods will bring us the money; mine will reach out and help relieve those in pain. And, as such, it will serve as my new ministry; in a different format. Who knows what doors God is opening?”

“What Are You Willing to Give up?”
In addition, during the Training, we were asked how much money we expected to be receiving, in one year, and then write down how much time we were willing to put into the business each week, what we were willing to do, and what we were willing to give up.

I always like to be the exception, but this time I felt Divinely Guided, as I wrote my answers during class. And to my amazement, the words came out: “I am willing to give up my ministry and our retirement. I had already been told, during a meditation, that I was to end my ministry, but I had no idea this was to take its place. I had thought I would be focusing my attention on my writing and getting my books published and marketed.
So, when this answer appeared, I questioned my Inner Guidance, only to be told, “This is preparation for your Divine Purpose.” And I understood that fulfilling these requirements would help build my confidence and self-esteem, which would be the foundation for my future work.

And, I also understood that this business would restore Van’s self-confidence and ability to again feel capable of functioning in areas of his expertise.

A Mom’s Pride
Delighted as I was with Van’s transformation, my heart rejoiced when my son, Marquam, had agreed to become a distributor. Ed and Sherrie, Dottie and Steve’s friends in Oregon had agreed to handle his sign-up process, and they called to report:
“We spent four hours with Marquam. We gave him a Presentation of the Business, signed him up, and sold him two bottles of OPC-3: one for his dad. In fact, we even paid for his lunch and gave him a jump-start on his pickup.”

In my heart, I knew that God was helping Marquam with his business, with such wonderful support as these friends of Dottie and Steve, who were not even in their leg of the business. They reassured him that they would be available to help him, but also gave him a list of local meetings.

Sunday morning, after church, we called Marquam on the Speaker Phone, and all congratulated him. Then offered immediate support, and promised that we would be there in June, or maybe sooner, to help him build his business. He shared that he had a new computer, and I told him that I’d sent information for a free e-mail program, and he could contact any of us at any time; or he could call us when needed.

We were all impressed with his commitment and interest, as he said, “Ed and Sherrie gave me a list of meetings,” and he recited several, including some offered by Paul and Teresa,” (Dottie and Steve’s friends and sponsors, who have also offered any help that he may need).

Laughing All the Way to the Bank
When I’d been Guided to close the bank account for my ministry, I wondered what to do with the tithe money from my personal account, which I’d deposited for my ministry expenses, such as copying and postage. My Guidance said “Open an account for the business, because this is reimbursement for all the ministry expenses paid from your personal account.” That seemed strange, at first, but the more I thought about it, the more reasonable it seemed. It’s for sure that my ministry had never supported itself, and I wondered why God would want me to continue a ministry that He didn’t financially provide for. The answer, “He wouldn’t,” so it seemed reasonable to put an end to the misery.

It was decided to open an account near Dottie and with her as a co-signer, so she could deposit or write checks, as business required. Now, we had a new series of decisions, such as what name for the account? I’d been told in meditation to establish new energies for this business, with new names: Joanna V. and Ralph E. Van Camp. I liked the power of the “V’s” from my middle name used with Van’s last name. And with Dottie’s middle initial, also “V” (both named after my mother, Valena), I knew this would be a prosperous bank account.

I also rejoiced that the account represented a partnership with Van and myself; an intimacy issue that had caused him to balk, in the past. Now he seemed at peace with it, but he rebelled at my choice of checks, so I acquiesced to his selection of a plain, less expensive design.

Liberace was once quoted as saying, “We laughed all the way to the bank,” referring to he and his brother, George, and I could relate to that, because the three of us were laughing happily, as we left the bank, after this momentous transaction, especially since we deposited over a hundred dollars from product sales. And that was without much effort on our part.

That’s a Record!
We’d been keeping a personal monthly Spending Plan (similar to a Budget), as one of our tools of recovery learned in Debtors Anonymous for Underearning/ Overspending. Now, we were ready to take another big step with a Spending Plan for our business. And this was only the beginning of our record-keeping. We would account for all expenses, so purchase of a Daily Financial Account Journal with columns for Profit and Loss became necessary; and then setting it up. And also an accounting of all literature, materials and transactions with our customers would facilitate our business activities. All this would be time-consuming, but important, as well as keeping track of our daily calls and sales; so Van helped me set up a system on the computer. Now, I could determine who and what I’d done, or needed to do.

Chapter 2
“LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS”

Belonging and Caring
On the road to our Regional Convention in Branson, Missouri (in our 35 ft. Holiday Rambler), we stopped at Unity Village, the worldwide headquarters for Unity School of Christianity, where I have been affiliated for over forty-five years. In fact, I am a Licensed Unity Teacher, and my writings reflect my beliefs based on my training in this church; although my deepest confirmation of faith has come from my Inner Spiritual Guidance, as God directs.

For instance, He guided me to take Highway 435, bypassing Kansas City, and with ease, even during commute traffic, we arrived at the familiar gates, parked and wandered toward the Security Office in time to be met by John, and then Gary, who helped us get settled into a makeshift RV pad amongst the budding tree tops growing up from a canyon below. I felt like we were in a tree-house looking out at the lacy greenery, midst flowering spring blossoms from a fuchsia colored vine-tree.

It felt good to return to my spiritual roots, and memories flooded back from the ten year period when I traveled by car, plane and train to complete my required course. During these years of my first marriage, raising my two girls, and eventually my son, took priority. At that time, anyone in the Teachers Training Program could obtain a Licensed Minister’s Certificate within a certain time frame; but they changed that policy, and I missed the opportunity to become a Unity Minister.

Now, we waited for morning to take a tour of Unity, so Van could experience it for the first time, and I could relive memories. I wondered what my life would have been like had I become a Unity minister. I felt a sense of grieving for what might have been. But I especially felt a sense of loss for the feeling of no longer belonging. At one time, I was so enmeshed in Unity that I said “I can’t tell where Unity ends and I begin.” And then God took me away from my church, and I went through a period of learning my own identity apart from Unity. So, in some ways, this visit served as a completion, though I miss the feeling of belonging.

Instead, God gave me a ministry-by-mail with prisoners. And I eventually understood why I gravitated toward these non-belongers. Having been adopted, I felt categorized as different. Others couldn’t understand my situation, but I could relate to the inmates, and I empathized with them. As one Freedomer said, “Joyanna gives a damn,” and I did. I still do. I feel their feelings too deeply, and I take them onto myself; because I care.

They Didn’t Feel They Belonged
As I contemplated these feelings, Steve called on the cellular, “Have you heard the news?”
“No,” I replied.
“Well, we thought you might have heard, and we wanted to let you know that everything is okay here.”
I couldn’t imagine what he could be talking about that would be on the news in Kansas City that would cause me to be concerned about my family in Denver. My only thoughts were that something must have happened relating to the war in Kozovo, but he said, “There’s been a terrible shooting at Columbine, the high school that Airica attended. It’s really bad, and it’s on all the news.” He obviously couldn’t continue talking, so he stopped.
I knew she wasn’t attending school, so I couldn’t understand his concern, as I asked, “But Airica isn’t there is she?”
“No, but she has friends who attend there, and she’s pretty messed up over it all.”
“Are they okay?”
“Well, we don’t know. They haven’t found all the bodies, yet. There’s maybe 25 dead, and around 20 in the hospitals.” I could hear voices in the background, and he said, “Look, I’ve got to go. We just wanted you to know that everyone is okay, in case you hear about it on the news.” And he hung up.
I couldn’t understand what he was talking about, so turned on the TV in time to hear scattered bits of news on various channels, apparently as the magnitude of the incident spread like wildfire across the nation. Obviously this was bigger than Denver, or even Colorado; in fact, I caught President Clinton speaking to the entire nation in an effort to soothe the grief.

On a later edition of News, three boys, obviously in shock, were being interviewed, in addition to the Chief of Police, and a Fire Chief, who had responded to the initial call.
It seemed that some misfit boys, who called themselves The Trenchcoat Mafia, had been plotting revenge on the school jocks and athletes, and also some Blacks. Their plans had even been on their own website, and many students knew that April 20th, the birthday of Adolph Hitler, would be the day.

Sure enough, they arrived at school with guns, hand grenades and homemade pipe bombs, and began their killing rampage, and then killed themselves in a Suicide Pact. Because they had booby-trapped some of the rooms, and even the BMW car belonging to one, the police were not able to go inside the school to remove the bodies. However, they did manage to extricate the wounded, and some students who had been hiding.
When I talked with Dottie, later, she said that the Rockies baseball game had been canceled, and also the Nuggets basketball game. In fact, the entire Denver community was in shock and mourning. She said, “When I went to the bank, around commute time, there were only a few cars on the streets. Everyone is home watching their TV’s and trying to understand what happened. After all, Columbine is the topnotch school in the area. If it can happen there, it can happen anyplace.”

Then Dottie revealed a shocking fact, “Airica was going to the school today to pick up something, but she slept in, and was too late. Otherwise, she would have been there.”
Now, she got my attention with something closer to home, and we were talking about Airica’s emotional health, when she added, “Our minister’s son goes there too, you know.” Just then she interrupted and said, “I’ve got to go, Airica’s counselor is on the phone. We’re trying to get her some counseling. I’ll call you later.”
I tried to grasp all this information, and pass it along to Van, while dialing the local channels, but nothing else was being offered, so we watched an updated Rockford Files, and then caught more news afterward, followed by Ted Koppel interviewing the above-mentioned boys. “They were considered freaks,” one said. “No one wanted anything to do with them,” another added, and the third said, “The jocks teased them, so they wanted to get revenge.

As the pieces to the puzzle fit together, a similar pattern of other student murderers began to reveal a picture of misfits who were victims of teasing and made to feel that they didn’t belong.
And another story began to emerge: of authorities not doing anything about it, even though they were aware of the boys and their plans on the Internet. Now, public opinion and outrage began to shake parents out of their lethargy. The cry became “Something must be done!”
“It’s a good thing you aren’t here,” Dottie said the next morning, “Everyone is so upset, and the energies are absolute chaos. No one quite knows what to do.”
“So, are you still going to meet us in Branson?” I asked, apprehensive that the Denver school massacre would alter their plans to attend the Regional Convention.
“Yes, but we’re going to attend the Memorial Service tonight at church. Rev. Roger is one that is putting on a Special Service. It’ll be at 7:00 p.m. and I want to attend with Airica. We’ll leave afterward and drive all night.”
“Okay, we’ll meet you there,” I concluded.

“I am an Exception; I Want to Belong”
In the meantime, we moved from our snuggly haven in the woods, and drove to the Reservation Office, where we paid the minimal courtesy charge for the night’s parking. “What time is the next Tour?” I asked.
“It’s at 10:30 the receptionist replied, and you meet at the Visitor’s Center by the Unity Inn.”

We parked and walked to my memory of the Visitor’s Center, but it had been moved in recent years, so we returned to the new location, and I announced, “We’d like to take the 10:30 Tour.”
“Oh, it’s too late. It was at 10:00 o’ clock.”
I put my hand to my head and groaned, “The receptionist at the Reservation Office said 10:30.”
“Sorry, there was no one here for the Tour, so we sent the Guide home.”
I was obviously devastated, so she said, “Maybe we can work something out.”
She disappeared into the back room, and I thought, “Well, of course. I’m always the exception. It’s one of my patterns. It’s a side-effect from being adopted. I am different.” It had always been an inside joke between Dottie and me. We both acknowledge ourselves as being exceptions; though I’m not sure why she would fit into the category.

In any event, the receptionist returned with a key, and guided us out the door and to the Administration Building, where we were left to watch a video about the history of Unity and its founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. Later, another gal returned and took us through the building, “These are the editorial offices for our Unity Magazine publication. I spotted the open door to the editor, Philip White’s office, and I poked my head inside, “Hi Phil,” I said.
He mumbled, “Yes,” as he continued looking at the computer.
“It’s Joyanna Freeland,” I said.
He turned around and jumped from his seat in one motion.

Now, that’s a gesture of belonging, I thought to myself, but out loud I said, “My daughter, Dottie, came through here on a tour last month, but she didn’t introduce herself to you. I’m not going to make that mistake.” I had known Philip, since he was in ministerial school, and we had become friends over the years.
“I’m glad you stopped,” he said, and walked toward the door.
At this point, confused over what else to say, I introduced him to my husband. And then I said, “We’re traveling through in our motor home. By the way, did you ever receive the material I sent you?”
His mood had shifted, and he became businesslike, as he said, “Yes, but we weren’t able to use it, and sent it back. Didn’t you receive it?”

“No.” I could tell the interview was over, so I reached to shake his hand, and then said, “A hug is even better,” and concluded the visit by wishing him well.
As we wandered on down the hall, I asked the Guide, “Isn’t Daily Word located here too?”
“No, it’s in the Silent Unity building, and it’s not published here, but at a separate print shop. It takes machinery the size of a football field to publish.”
We continued walking, as she pointed out several points of interest, and then opened the door and walked outside. “Would you like to attend the 11:00 Prayer Service in the Silent Unity Building?” she asked.
“Yes, I would.”
“Okay, then we’ll go over to the Old Silent Unity building and the library first. Because we left later than usual, we’ll need to cut the tour a bit short in time for the Prayer Service.

The Old Silent Unity building brought back many memories of my first years attending the Teachers Training Program, and sitting in this chapel for daily prayer services. At this time, James Dillet Freeman, Unity’s poet laureate was Director of Education, and Philip White was a ministerial student. And Lowell Fillmore, brother of the founder, Charles Fillmore, though elderly, still walked these grounds, as did many of the early teachers. And May Rowland was Director of Silent Unity. She and James Dillet Freeman were founding members, in their early twenties, when Unity was founded. May Rowland had long ago made her transition, and then James Dillet Freeman became Director of Silent Unity. Now, he still lived in one of the homes on the campus, and continued writing books and poetry. I hoped that I would see him today in the Unity Inn.

As we wandered through the library and the offices of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, I realized that I would be considered an old-timer now. And I began to feel the passing of the many years I’d been coming back to Unity Village to complete my training. For instance, during this time, Philip White had graduated, ministered in the field, and returned as Director of Education; all the time I was still working toward my Certificate.
One of the last times here, I’d come back to appear before the Board of Directors in order to receive my Licensed Teacher’s Certificate, and Philip White was already editor of Unity Magazine, an important and honored position. He gave me support and encouragement, as I prepared for the momentous event, and he later confided that I had been accepted.

But that seemed to be the last acceptance I received from Unity; whether by God’s Plan, mine, or theirs. The doors seemed to close for me; and the only doors that opened — I assume by God’s Command — were the ministry-by-mail for Freedomers.

Now, after the Prayer Service, we went to the Unity Inn for lunch, and the place that had once held such joy and acceptance for me, in the form of food and friendship, seemed empty. In fact, the entire lunch was devoid of satisfaction. For instance, the abundance once offered, was now meager, with my only favorite being peanut butter pie, which I selected. I’d gotten excited about the “loaded potato” on the menu, but at the last minute, because I didn’t see the stuffings, I switched to sole almondine with rice and mixed vegetables, which I also regretted, especially when I noticed the ample supply of goodies, for the “loaded baked potato” on another table.
Okay, so it seemed that my lessons were continuing, even though I had begun writing another book, and expected everything to go smoothly. Wrong!

Sitting at our table, listening to groups of diners chatting and laughing, I suddenly felt very lonely, even though Van was with me. I missed all the good times of yesteryear; the feeling of belonging. Though my husband supported my involvement in my ministry, he was not actually part of it. And I sadly remembered my Spiritual Counseling class when we had role-modeled various functions of ministering. Mine had been a husband-wife ministry team, and I loved it. I longed for that taste of belonging — of being part of a team — to be fulfilled in my life. But it never was; at least not in the ministry format.

But now I hoped for this inner desire to be fulfilled in our networking business, and in all honesty, as I sat in the Unity Inn, I subconsciously felt that I had sold out my true heart’s desire. And I wondered if it would ever be fulfilled, and if it even could be. Perhaps, the emptiness, the longing, was simply leftover from my Abandonment Syndrome of having been forsaken by my parents, though adopted by my paternal grandparents. Although it’s said that adopted children are loved twice, I secretly suspect that deep inside we feel that we were never truly loved and accepted.

However, after lunch something happened that changed my attitude, and lifted me from this negativity. The shift began while finishing our dessert and seeing James Dillet Freeman come into the Unity Inn for his lunch. This reminded me that The Fillmore’s too, had always eaten their meals here, because Myrtle didn’t cook, and didn’t even have a kitchen in her home, The Arches, which she had built to her specifications. A woman after my own heart, in many ways, as she is my role-model; though I don’t feel I have fulfilled my spiritual destiny, as yet.
But, for now, I seemed drawn back to the Visitor’s Center to ask several questions, and then wandered into the adjoining Book Store, as Van pointed to a spot on the shelf, and said, “You want that blanket, don’t you?”

I had seen it displayed as a wall-hanging, while on our tour, and although my heart longed for the energies of the Unity Village symbols — the tower, fountains, and buildings, and roses, with the names of the Twelve Powers written along the edge — all woven into the fabric, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of spending the money for this treasure. It was another instance, like the baked potato, when I felt that I needed to deny myself, in order to please the other person. I understood that this pattern went back to my childhood and pleasing my parents by doing without. And I always attracted men into my life who perpetuated the syndrome; or I projected it onto them, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But now, the pattern was being dashed into oblivion, as Van walked over to the shelf, bent down, selected a plastic encased package, and handed the precious heirloom into my waiting arms with the assurance that he wanted me to have it.

“But, I already bought a new blanket at the Flea Market in Denver; though I must admit I was thinking it would be too heavy for summer, and even thought I’d need to buy a lighter one.”
“Here it is,” Van said. And I knew that something within him had changed too, for he had never done anything like this, and the blanket symbolized his inner transition.

As I handed it to the clerk, she said, “Oh, you’re buying one of these lovely throws. Did you see the big white dove in the background?”

“No,” I replied, “I only glimpsed it from a distance, while on the tour.”
“Be sure to notice the dove,” she said, as she wrapped the package into another bag, and bid us goodbye.
I could hardly wait to spread the precious blanket on my sofa. The natural hemp and deep rose shades matched perfectly, as its Light energies permeated our tiny home, and yet they were not overpowering, like the heavier blanket I had previously purchased. Even at the time, I suspected that I was selling out by not waiting to buy what I really wanted — like the baked potato. But, I reassured myself that it was okay to have two blankets; an omen of abundance again entering into our lives; and there in the center, a large white dove in flight; the emblem of peace.

“This is the nicest thing you have ever done for me,” I said to Van, as he surveyed the scene, and I knew that it was meaningful to him too; almost like it was the basis of our new life together. Indeed, life can be fun.
As we drove along the highway, south toward Branson, I felt fulfilled, and I remembered the inspiring words spoken during the Prayer Service; words that give me reassurance when those times of loneliness and not belonging tempt me to forget the Truth that I am never alone:
“Lo, I am with you always.”

Chapter 3
FORK IN THE ROAD

The Best Route to Denver?
Still trying to figure out the best route to Denver, while parked at the Flying J Truck Stop in Checotah, Oklahoma, we contemplated the possibility of going on to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to visit our friend, Dan Mueller, whom we spent time with on our way to Colorado a month earlier. We’d sold him a bottle of OPC-3, hoping it would give him more energy and mental alertness for planning his stock market strategy on the computer, but he’d made it clear he wasn’t interested in the business. Nevertheless, it would be good to see him again.

On the other hand, we could save a lot of time by cutting north from Oklahoma City through Kansas, and back along I-70, which I wasn’t thrilled about. Or, we could head north from Amarillo, and stay at the County Park in Dumas, Texas; one of our favorite stops when heading through the state. Then we could either head West to Raton, New Mexico, and over the pass to Trinidad, Colorado, and north. There were even several other routes, too, but we had already seen all of these, therefore, our criteria being to see new scenery eliminated most of them. So, we were truly contemplating the fork in the road.

Meantime, Back at the Colorado Massacre
From the Truck Stop, I called Dottie and learned that their trip had gone smoothly, despite rain and fog; but, at least, they were on the freeway and made good time, because that was their objective.

But once in Colorado, they were caught up in the trauma of their daughter’s involvement in her high school. In fact, all of Colorado, if not the nation, had become involved, and as we were talking, a Memorial Service was being held at a city park. Later, when again talking, Dottie said that Airica had joined with 80,000 people who attended the 90-minute service, conducted by spiritual leaders of varying faiths, including Billie Graham Jr. Singer Amy Grant and others offered their talents, and someone wrote a song for the occasion. Vice President Al Gore also made an appearance.

This was no small matter for the nation to cope with; and it seemed as if the people of Colorado were somehow chosen to lead a mass change for the better. For instance, the Columbine high school students no longer indulged in social cliques, but had bonded together as one. In fact, they insisted on continuing together in their school, rather than waiting a year. Memorial shrines were created to honor the victims, such as their cars left in the school parking lot, and the nearby Clemont Park had become a depository for flowers, notes, pictures, and mementos that helped the students and adults cope with their grief.

As Dottie shared these activities with me over the phone, I wondered if the nation was facing a turning point of goal-setting too. Perhaps this event would set things straight for our country. God knows, something must be done, and maybe these misfit boys had unknowingly been part of a much bigger event than they realized; something like Judas in the overall picture.

The next morning, in the midst of a terrible downpour, we pulled off the highway and waited at an abandoned truck stop, and I again called home. This time, I talked with Airica, and she spoke of her grief, and bonding with the students as they struggled to find answers. “We don’t need counseling,” she said, “We have each other.” Of course, the fact that she’d lost ten pounds from her already thin body didn’t seem to her to indicate a need for outside help, though she admitted, “I wasn’t able to eat or sleep.” However, she said some of her friends eventually went to dinner in a local restaurant, and some customers bought them dinner, and others bought them a dessert.

Other changes were happening in her life too. For instance, she had quit her job, because a boy who worked with her had been treating her badly. But, when she saw him at a local gathering, he gave her a hug and apologized. Where would all these changes take us? I wondered.

When talking with Airica about them, I said, “You’re part of history. Maybe it will turn things around.”
“I don’t know,” she said, “they’ve found diaries and notes from the boys that said there would be more. In fact, today, April 26th, Bear Valley High School had a sign on the school that said, ‘You will be next,’ so a lot of kids stayed home from school.”

I felt disheartened, but said, “I don’t blame them. What’s being done about it?”
“The police are trying to find out who’s doing it.”
Speaking of goal-setting and directions, as I have been during our trip, I asked Airica if she was thinking about returning to high school next year, because earlier in the year she had quit and was home-schooling. “I really want to,” she said, “but I don’t know yet.” Obviously she’s going through some inner transitions, as are most everyone affected by this momentous tragedy.

Where is the Fork in the Road?
While the Colorado Massacre was moving through its process, we were going through our own dark night of the soul. The skies apparently had decided to dump all the tears of the nation in Arkansas and Oklahoma. At least, that’s where we were for the two days of incessant downpour. It was so bad at one point, along I-40 that we were totally blinded, and I insisted that Van exit, until it was over. Fortunately, God provided an off-ramp that lead to a deserted Truck Stop, and we stopped, as did several other vehicles with smart drivers.

At this point, I said, “Maybe we should take the safest route home, survival being a high priority. Don’t you think I-40 to Albuquerque is best? We have Flying J Truck Stops, and wide highways.”
Van agreed, and once the rain lessened, we continued West. But, after awhile the rain stopped, and then blue skies began to appear, and finally the sunshine and huge fluffy clouds appeared, and we began to feel safer, so again questioned our options.

Eventually, we stopped at a Rest Stop, and after lunch, I said, “Let’s talk about our goals. What do you see as our goals for the next 30 days, and for the next 90 days?”
To my surprise, Van had an answer, “Well, we need to get Freedom worked on, and I think your idea of 10 Preferred Customers in 90 days is good.”
“Okay,” I said, but added, “You will need to make sure TC (Steve’s mechanic friend and business associate) knows, so we can leave here the end of the month. In the meantime, I’ll make a reservation to stay at the Dakota Ridge RV Park in Golden, and we’ll need to rent a car in order to get around town.”
“Have you planned how we’ll make these payments?” Van questioned.
“Yes, I have,” I retorted angrily, because he hadn’t said a word about this for the last several weeks when I mentioned these options. “We allow $500.00 for parking and gas each month, and that will cover the expenses.” Then I snapped back, “Have you considered how to pay for the repairs to Freedom?”
“Oh, I see,” he said softly, in his best passive-aggressive manner.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I growled.
“It’s up to me to figure out the repair costs.”
“That’s right, and you might include that in your goal-setting. It should be enough motivation for you to start building this business.” I paused, and added, “The reason I’m angry, is because you’ve known of these expenses all along, and yet, you haven’t considered how to take care of them, and you had no intention of paying for the RV Park. I call that a lack of communication.”
I decided to change the subject, “So what are you willing to give up?”
“I hadn’t thought of giving up anything.”
“Oh, so you plan to continue doing everything exactly the same, and yet you expect different results? I’ve heard they call that insanity.”

Now, he resorted to another passive-aggressive technic, “I don’t know what you’re talking about when you ask that question. Do you mean ‘what am I willing to change?’”
I’d fallen for that approach too many times in the past. This time I said, “Van, you have a college degree; you made a living working in a think-tank, as a computer trouble-shooter. Don’t tell me you don’t understand.”
“I suppose it means making changes, like not watching as much TV,” he conceded.
“Yeah, that would work. I’m sure you’ve got the idea, so just take it from there.”

He didn’t reply, and I began working on the goals, writing down: 30 Days; and filling in the priorities, as I brought up subjects relating to each one, such as 5 Preferred Customers. Before long, I’d filled in the page, and headed another goal: 60 Days, and began adding details for our trip to Oregon and helping Marquam build his business during that period of time.

Then I wrote: 90 Days, and listed: 10 Preferred Customers. I looked up to Van and said, “If Henry is ready to come into the business in Northern California, are you ready to make a trip down there?”
“Okay,” he said, without further comment.
“Well, you know that means we will have to change our plans from our trip across Canada or Northern United States to New England for the autumn colors. Is that okay with you?
“Sure,” he said.
So, it seems to me that we should plan to show the Business Plan to Dan, when we go through Albuquerque, since we’ll be staying there, no doubt. Are you willing to do that?”
He nodded.
I picked up the phone and called Dan. He was delighted that we were coming, and had a lot to talk about when we arrived. I asked, “Would you be willing to do us a favor?” He agreed, so I said, “We’re moving forward with this business, and we need practice showing the Business Plan. I know you already said you aren’t interested in the business, but could we show it to you for the experience?”
“That would be fine,” he said.
After I hung up, I said to Van, “Well, that answers the question about which way to go from Amarillo, Texas: West or North. Of course, we’ll go to Albuquerque. Dan is looking forward to seeing us, and especially chatting with you. He’ll be leaving the area soon, so this is a good time to see him again.”
Van looked pleased.

“The Bear Went Over the Mountain”
When a child, I always wondered what was on the other side of the mountain. In fact, at age five, another gal and I climbed the mountain in back of our home at Warm Springs, Oregon. I figured our family resort, Kah-nee-ta Hot Springs, was there. But, once on top of the plateau, I discovered another valley, and more hills. In other words, it was ten-miles “over the mountain.” It got dark, before we returned home, and the families were out with a search party, but we were safe and protected by our dogs.

But I still like to know what’s on the other side of the mountain, and that’s probably what drives me on with this lifestyle. After all the rain and wind, I needed something to motivate me, because I was already threatening to quit traveling, if this wild weather continued. And, if I would keep in mind the words of the song, which is the title of this segment, I’d remember that “The other side of the mountain is all that he could see.”

And the truth of those words came to mind when we found ourselves paralleling the other side of the mountain next to Albuquerque; only we were surprised to see the pine and other evergreen trees in this otherwise desert region. So, I was satisfied that now I know what’s on the other side of this mountain, at least, and almost the entire route along I-40, all the way from the Atlantic Ocean, near Wilmington, North Carolina, where it begins, to I-15 (on the way from San Diego to Las Vegas and points north), where it ends; for we had now traversed the entire route.

Van’s Business Plan presentation to Dan was a fork in the road for him, as it was his first time; and he did an excellent job, using a flip chart provided by the company. Although Dan had already said he wasn’t interested in the business, we appreciated the opportunity to give the presentation, and I shared the Mall Without Walls concept, and then suggested that he sign-up as a Preferred Customer, since he too, would be traveling, as an Interim Minister for Unity School of Christianity. He appreciated the opportunity to avail himself of the products by telephone and with a credit card, so we helped him fill out the application form.

I had laughed when we first arrived, because Dan was embroiled in preparations for his trip to Denver in a few days, and seemed stressed.
“Better take your OPC-3,” I said.
“I ran out, yesterday,” he replied.
“Van, quick, bring in one for him,” I requested, and Dan gladly gulped down a portion, as I honestly said, “You know, Dan, you’re energies and color look much better than when we were here a month ago. I really think the OPC-3 is helping.”
“Well, I’m thinking more clearly with my computer stock market work,” he admitted, “and I do have more energy.”
“Great, that’s what we like to hear. I know you’ll really notice a difference, after three months, so keep ordering it, as needed.”
“Oh, I will,” he said.

Another day, we all laughed when Dan ordered a pizza, and then drove to get it, only to find the Lil Caesars Pizza Parlor not where he expected. We asked someone for directions, and while driving there, he said, “I know it’s by Walgreen; maybe they have another one.” But when we followed the directions given to us, there wasn’t a Walgreen there either, but there was a Pizza Parlor, so they collected our pizza, and started driving back to his house. Dan started to chuckle, and said, “I know why there wasn’t a Walgreen there. I’m thinking of the last time I got pizza. It was in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.”
As we laughed, I said, “Isn’t the mind a wonderful thing? It knew exactly where to go get pizza; only it was in Sheboygan.” Then I added, “I’m not sure how, but I know this illustration fits in with the Fork in the Road.”
“I don’t think I want your readers to know how forgetful I am,” he confided.”
“Oh, it’s okay,” I assured him, “I’ll just tell them you hadn’t been taking OPC-3 long enough for your memory to be restored.”
He shuddered, and I added, “Okay, I’ll tell them you’re really not absent-minded,” and he looked relieved.

“Maybe We Should Have Gone Another Way”
When the evening news announced the possibility of heavy winds, rain and thunder storms the next afternoon, I suggested that we get an early start the next day. And my idea seemed valid when the morning news confirmed the weather prediction. Besides the fact the skies were overcast, and the wind was already blowing. So, we said goodbye to Dan and headed north toward Denver.

Within the hour it took to get to Santa Fe, we were rocking and rolling, and the wind was causing the awning to clatter alongside the coach. “Isn’t it interesting,” Van said, “that we’ve completed the circle from traveling east, to south, to west, and now back north, and we’ve been bucking winds the entire trip; seems like our timing is off.”
“Well, I guess we’ll know the timing was okay, when we get safely home, right?”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said.
Another hour of swaying down the road, and I said, “Maybe we should have gone another way, or taken a different fork in the road.”
“No, I don’t think so,” Van said firmly. “I’m glad we stopped to see Dan.”
“Me too,” I agreed.
Within another hour, we were out of the mountains, and enjoying a pleasant trip home.

Pushing Through the Storm
The above words, indicating a pleasant trip home, were written before the trip was over; kind of a “they lived happily ever after,” concept. But life isn’t always the way we wish it to be, and our trip definitely did not fit my expectations.

For instance, the intense winds continued through the mountains, and long after; all along the plains, sometimes banging the awning case against the side, and always trying to rock and roll Freedom. Van did a heroic job of keeping us on the highway, and out of the other lanes; and I kept busy praying, while writing letters; but I was tense and anxious all the way, especially when the rain and fog combined with the wind.

“How’s the weather there?” I asked Steve or Dottie, as I called for support and encouragement.’
“Oh, it’s overcast, but otherwise it’s fine,” came the ongoing reply, ever urging us onward.
One of my calls had the added urgency of our “Check Engine” light coming on, and we had stopped to survey the situation, before climbing the Raton Pass.

“If your temperature and oil are okay, don’t worry about it,” Steve consoled, after checking with TC, the company mechanic. He then added, “TC says it’s a sensor, and he’ll fix it when he works on the coach.”
The light went out, and we drove onward and upward over the pass, and down the other side. Fortunately, there was no snow, but it had been predicted for the higher elevations, which added to my anxiety.

As we returned to the lowlands, the wind continued to whip against the right side, as it blew across the open plains. Finally, I couldn’t stand the intensity any longer, and gave up writing letters to sit and stare out the window. By this time the rain had turned into a downpour, and I asked Van, “How much further to Pueblo?”
“About ten miles.”
Several miles later, while peering into the overcast, foggy scene, I urged, “When you see a place to stop, please pull off, okay?”
“Well, I can’t find anyplace along here.”
“You said that we would pull off, when travel conditions were not safe, and this is not safe; now you say we can’t pull off.”
“Right.” And he kept going.
“Okay, so when we get to Pueblo, find a Wal-Mart, and we’ll stay there tonight.” However, I thought we’d never live long enough to get there. It was the longest ten miles in history, as the rain and wind worsened.

Finally, inching through traffic in Pueblo, Van found the Wal-Mart at the north end of town, and pulled off the freeway. Fortunately, we cozied up beside a wall that kept the heavy winds at a minimum, but by this time I was shaking from the stress, and crawled into bed. When Dottie returned my call, I again asked her “How is the weather up there?”
“Oh, it’s fine,” she replied. We discussed the possibility of pushing on through the storm, but I was adamant to stay put.

However, I later turned on the weather news, only to learn that we were in an unusual weather pattern resulting from conditions around Lake Mead, near Las Vegas, and it would likely last about 48 hours. Also, this area was worse than Denver, but the storm would be working its way north. But the bad news showed Colorado Springs, only 40 miles north, having floods from the deluge; and 8 inches of snow in the higher elevations, with 14 inches more expected during the night.

In other words, we were at another Fork in the Road. We could stay in the storm overnight, or we could push through, and get to the other side, based on the information from Dottie. I groaned, and said, “Okay, if you want to drive through the storm, I’m going to stay in bed with ear plugs, and trust that we survive.

Periodically I would look out the window, and it seemed we were going in circles, as the terrain remained the same, and it seemed to take forever to travel a short distance. But, finally, as we neared Colorado Springs, the storm turned into torrents, and I understood what the weatherman was talking about. Instead of better, it worsened, so I called Dottie again, “How’s the weather?”
“Oh, it’s fine.”
“Okay, well, we’re pushing through, so we’ll see you later tonight. We should be through this once we get over that next pass.”

Wrong! The next pass brought us into slushy snow mixed with the heavy rain. But the good news was that the wind stopped. Of course, Van could barely see, and the traffic was rushing by like a speedway, but we kept pushing on. At least it was early enough that the roads weren’t icy. Nevertheless, we passed two accidents due to the wet roads and poor visibility.

I called again, and Steve answered. This time I said, “I just want you to know that we are now driving through snow; and all of this is to get there for that Coring Meeting tomorrow night. Talk about goal-setting, commitment, and ‘what we’re willing to do for the business.’ I think we’re definitely doing our homework.”
He didn’t sound all that impressed, but at least he got the message.
Finally, we dropped altitude, and the snow stopped, but the rain continued. By this time we were within 30 miles of Lakewood, and it was still a downpour. I said to Van, “I think they’re lying. Maybe they’re just saying the weather is good to get us through the storm.” He too was confused about the conflicting weather reports.
“I know what they’ll say, ‘It just started about a half-hour ago.”

Now, we had turned off I-25 onto 470, which goes through Littleton, the town where the terrible massacre had taken place at Columbine High School. Suddenly, without anyone near the dials, the TV came on with a bright blinding light, and I couldn’t get it turned off.

“There must be something we’re supposed to see,” Van said, and as I pressed the power button, the channel moved to 7, and stayed there. It was a Special Report about the healing process the students, parents, and teachers were going through; not only at Columbine and Colorado, but the entire nation.
I agreed with Van, “Yes, I think we are supposed to be watching this. It’s like they, too, are pushing through their storm, and we are returning in time to be part of it.”

The rain had become a heavy drizzle, by the time we pulled in front of the door. As Van parked, I saw two furry heads peering out the front window: Rascal, the family dog, and Buddy, Arianna and Jason’s dog, who had come to live with them.

As usual, we got a Razzle Welcome from the dogs, and finally got to hug my daughter and Steve. You guessed it; their first comment, “It just started raining about a half-hour ago!”

Once the greetings were over, and the family and business news exchanged, I had an opportunity to explain to Steve, “I bought myself a patriotic shirt to wear at meetings, and I called to ask Dottie if she wanted one, but she wasn’t home, so I asked Airica. She said to buy it, so I did, but I didn’t bring anything for you.”
And then I knew that he got the message I was trying to convey about pushing through the storm. He said, “Hey, I’m glad you bought the shirt for Dottie, and the gift you brought for me was pushing through the storm to get here for the Training Session tomorrow night.”
Somehow, I knew that this entire trip was a process of getting straight on our priorities and commitment to our Network business, and I was so glad that Steve got it too.

The Storm is Over: The Healing Process Begins
Their TV too, was turned to the Special Program, when we arrived, and later, the news broadcast showed the final funeral service which was for Isaiah, the only black student killed in the melee. And they spoke of healing the racial differences too. It didn’t take long to become enmeshed in the healing process this community was going through, especially when Airica came home with several school friends. Her energies had totally shifted. She was a changed person.

I had left a card on the table for her to express my awareness and support of the process she and her friends were going through. She peeked around the corner and smiled, then read the card, and then gave me a real hug, and said, “Thank you.” Later, she mentioned an album she had made about the shooting, and I said, “I have two newspapers from Missouri that I brought you to include in your album.” She smiled. It hadn’t been much, but it was enough, and I knew that our generational gaps were healing too.

When the time seemed right, I gave Dottie the patriotic shirt, and explained that I had one, too, but mine had a somewhat different design. She smiled and said, “I like it.”

That night, as we settled down in the safety of our own home, in front of our family’s home, I too, felt part of the healing process, although we hadn’t been here in person. Now, the storm was over, and we were ready to move forward with our lives, and our business; and to keep having fun, as the healing process continued.

Chapter Four
WHAT IS YOUR MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION?

Van Won the Coin-Toss
“If you don’t have your own Magnificent Obsession, then become passionate about someone else’s,” Clement Stone, the great motivational speaker, once said when he appeared on Rev. Robert Schuller’s TV ministry, Hour of Power, about ten years ago.

This quote, which Van and I heard, while watching the program, came to mind during the Friday night Training that Steve and Dottie presented. The topic, “finding our passion,” evolved from our goal-setting assignment.
First, Steve asked, “Who thinks they had the hardest time preparing their Goal Statement? Van and I immediately raised our hands, along with two others. So we flipped a coin, because only one could share in this segment. I’d planned to talk about our ordeal of coming home through the storms, as part of our goal-setting process; and I thought that was Van’s sharing, too, but when he won the coin-toss, he shared that he had always found it difficult to set long-term goals, and this assignment brought him face-to-face with this obstacle.
He expounded on this explanation, as to why his was the most difficult, stating that he was “a few months older than the rest” (other than me, of course), and that he had been working on trying to identify his goals much longer, and therefore the process, for him, had evolved to a completion; once he made the decision to start to understand how to create goals.

He explained that he already understood their importance, and cited the Harvard research, which kept track of a class of graduating students; one group (3 percent) had written their goals, and 97% hadn’t. After ten years, the 3 percent group were all attaining their goals, and had been financially successful, so that their total achievement was equal to the combined financial accomplishments of the other 97%.

So, the problem wasn’t recognizing the value of goal-setting, and once the commitment was made to fulfill the assignment, he was able to write down his goals. They were to support the ones that I had made, which we had discussed together.

By the time he had finished, we were convinced that, indeed, his lifetime goal-setting ordeal had been challenging, and we applauded his accomplishment. In fact, several of the younger men could relate to his dilemma, and benefited from his honest sharing.

However, at first, when he had told me that his goals were to support mine, I was disgusted that he wasn’t creating his own. But, then I realized that his alignment with mine was actually fulfilling another of my heart’s desires; although not as I had originally expected. In fact, I didn’t recognize that I was truly getting my fulfillment, until the next day.

In the meantime, I shared my 90 days goals, which were already in progress, such as the 10 Preferred Customers, and our planned trip to Oregon to work with my son to build his business, and sharing the Business Plan with several friends on the trip. I concluded with: Balance, Perfect Health and God’s Guidance. I summarized my goals with “Business on Wheels,” which had meaning for me.

“What Would You Die For?”
After each one had shared our goals, I was able to explain it more to the group when we were asked to identify and discuss our passion. Some had a difficult time with this, because defining and expressing emotions, such as passion, were deeply entrenched blocks. So Steve and Dottie worked them through the process by illustrating the difference between goals and passion, concluding with “What would you die for?” This is when I shared about Clement Stone’s “Magnificent Obsession.”

By the time my turn arrived, I was feeling quite emotional, because I knew that I had to put into words some deep feelings, including the sense of having sold out my original passion, but when I had finished expressing myself, I had attained an inner resolution. I’ll share the story here with more details and background, as I glean more insights into the subject.

It all began when I attended Unity Village in the Licensed Teacher’s Training Program in the sixties. During the Spiritual Counseling class, we role-modeled various ministerial/teacher activities. Mine was as husband-wife ministers in a counseling session. Though divorced at the time, I loved the experience, and my dream had become to share in such a partnership.

Unfortunately, I created husbands who weren’t into religion or the ministry, and definitely not capable of the intimacy required for this commitment. In retrospect, after many years of codependency recovery, I assume that my dream was based on the need to belong, because of the scars from being abandoned by my parents at a tender age.

Nevertheless, the dream continued, and was part of what I would identify as my passion. At first, while writing these words, I mislabeled that dream as my passion. But, I can see that would be limiting my passion, for nothing can permanently interfere with a true passion. However, I allowed my dream to die, because of the emotionally non-available men in my life. But, I continued to pursue my passion. Until now, I thought my ministry filled this label, but I found it fairly easy to retire from my ministry, as such. So, this is not my passion.
What is my motivation? What gets me excited to get out of bed each day? What would I do, even if it were forbidden?

I shared with the group that I had felt I’d sold out my passion, when I set aside my ministry with my commitment to this Networking Business. But then I realized that it was still on the path toward fulfilling my so-called destiny, which I had thought was identified as ministry. Yet, perhaps that is limiting, because it’s more than that. In some ways, it could be called a crusade, or a movement. I only know that “it” is God-guided, and I am following my Guidance, which told me to retire from the ministry; and also told me to become committed to this Business. I understood that the process of building our business and fulfilling the requirements would serve as further preparation, and take me further toward my destiny.

So then, what is my Magnificent Obsession? Is it the same as my passion? Immediately the answer came: writing is my passion. Yes, even though I often threaten to quit writing, when frustrated, the truth is that I would find a way to write, if it meant chiseling on stone. Now, that’s a passion. But, I’m not sure it’s my Magnificent Obsession.

For instance, I have happily transferred my writing to incorporate our travels, in my Travel Series. And I have shifted the emphasis from my ministry to our business, as my passion for writing flourishes.
But, there’s more to my life, or my destiny, and it lures me ever onward. What is this Magnificent Obsession?
I wonder, as I follow Clement Stone’s advice, and take on the Magnificent Obsession of the founder, will mine continue to evolve? I think so.

Okay, so let’s go deeper into this analysis. What is the founder’s passion? I’ve heard that it goes beyond simply a marketing idea. His underlying passion is for making life better for people, which, of course, includes a marketing plan that allows everyone the opportunity to benefit and prosper. Ah hah!

Now, we have identified, under all the outer appearances, the underlying passion that drives him toward his Magnificent Obsession. It’s something he would die for. And, in my opinion, it’s God-given.

And this brings me to the proper identification of my Magnificent Obsession. It is God-given, and therefore, I believe it will ultimately be fulfilled with God’s Guidance. And, furthermore, I believe that keeping my focus on God, and listening to His Guidance will lead me to my destiny, in the process of living. So, I don’t feel that I must force myself into being goal-driven, unless it is God-driven. In other words, it’s a matter of keeping my priorities straight: God first, and then as He directs.

With this in mind, I once wrote my Inner Freedom Ministry Mission Statement: “To experience inner freedom through Oneness with God, and to assist others, who are interested, to do the same; to teach that the key is Love, and the door is the Present Moment.”
This is still true for me, but I realize it’s not an appropriate Goal Statement for our business. And our homework for the next week was to write our Goal Statement for the 90 Days, so the assignment also ties in with this chapter. But, it doesn’t express my Magnificent Obsession. However, I will return to this pursuit, later.

A Much Larger Picture
In the meantime, it was Van’s turn to identify and discuss his passion. He started by saying, “I like to see things being useful,” which, no doubt, explained it all in his mind, but no one else understood. So he added, “Well, like OPC-3 is useful for health.” Still no flicker of receptivity, and Van was at a loss for words, which isn’t unusual for him. However, I had been blown away all evening with his unusually prolific verbalization.

Finally, I thought of an example to illustrate his point, “It’s like he’s a trouble-shooter with the way computers operate. They are supposed to work, and if not, he will find the reason and fix it, if it’s within his knowledge and ability.” He nodded, as if this made perfect sense; and it does, when you understand Van.

The realization of the depth of his passion became apparent to me during our trips to Laughlin, Nevada, to meet and spend time with his mother, Betty, who enjoys a four-day respite at the gambling vacation resort, Harrah’s. She likes to play the quarter slots, and she has a well-balanced approach: if she’s winning, she plays longer; if not, she stops. And if she wins a jackpot or large payoff on a machine, she quits and moves to another. It’s Van’s job, since he doesn’t gamble (it feeds his obsessive-compulsive disorder), to unload the abandoned machines into the plastic buckets, and when they are full to take them to the cashier and exchange for paper money.
He has always done this quite willingly, because it’s the pattern of the relationship between Van and his mother, from childhood: whatever she wants, he obediently handles. And, it has become the framework of his relationship with women, including me.

During my codependency recovery process, I attempted to change this relationship, but, after observing him with his mother, I finally realized that it’s not changeable; it’s his reality, and I might as well accept it and enjoy the benefits. It’s not a matter of taking advantage of him, or using him, but simply acceptance that is Van; it’s how he is, and how he will always be, unless he desperately wants to change. And he doesn’t.

However, I saw inklings of his dissatisfaction with being the go-for when in Laughlin the last time, and we discussed it, simply for him to become aware of his feelings, realize it’s natural to rebel over this relationship, and then make a decision whether to continue to live with it and accept it, or not. He chose to let it be. That’s true acceptance, or non-resistance, in a biblical sense, bordering onto surrender, as taught by Jesus. Most of us endeavor for a lifetime to reach that serenity, but Van has always lived it; it’s part of him being how he is.

I secretly suspect that his underlying resistance, resentment and rebellion reflected a normal reaction to the situation that motivated his passive-aggressive personality: seemingly calm and benign on the surface, but underneath, a raging volcano threatening to erupt. Miraculously, after we opened the festering cyst of pent-up resentment, by recognizing and talking about it, he was able to move from denial to recognition, and inner healing allowed a deeper sense of peace to replace the roiling volcano.

But, in all reality, Van has a much more intense passion than he verbalized, and Steve put it into words when he said, “But what about that passion you always spoke of years ago; something about finances?”

Van looked blank, because someplace along the line he had given up his dream and with it his passion. Now, Steve stirred the dying embers and Van said, “Oh, you mean to change the financial structure of the country?”
“Yeah, that’s the one,” Steve said, and asked “What about that one? After all, you once helped us all with our finances, as clients of your Personal Financial Management (PFM) business; and we still use the information you taught us. It may seem that it failed, but that’s because we all came up against our money patterns. But isn’t that still your passion? ”

Van nodded, and said, “Yah, I guess so,” but didn’t expand upon it, and Steve moved on to the next person.
But that wasn’t the end of it. A week later, at a business Kick-off (presentation of our products and Business Plan) that Steve and Dottie were presenting, he asked Van to give his “Two-minute Commercial.”

I hadn’t heard it, yet, and when Van stood up and presented his story, as if it’s something he does every day, I knew that his passion was alive, and well, and flourishing. He recited a story that I had heard, but not in this context:
“It all started back at University when a professor explained that up until 1932, college used to be different; that they taught how to become entrepreneurs. But, about 1934 they decided to change; and the emphasis became on teaching people to become adaptable to corporate operations.
“I rebelled against becoming a pawn in Corporate America, although I worked for United Air Lines, and was a Navy Frogman. And I tried to develop my own business, called Buzzy Butter, a non-greasy, non-sticky peanut butter confection, but I realized that I failed to fulfill the demands of owning my own business, such as distribution, accounting, management and socializing. So it didn’t work.
“Then I got into Multi-Level-Marketing, and I thought it presented a great opportunity, but I couldn’t get beyond noticing that the one’s at the top, and certain others, were the only ones that could make it financially.
When I saw the Business Plan for this company, I realized that the founder had put together a company that works for everyone, and I could finally see a possibility for my vision to be fulfilled. And I realized that he shared my passion to change the financial structure of America. This is a company that I could get excited about. We’ve already received our first $300.00 bonus check, and we’re on our way to the top!”

Business on Wheels
During the Training, I shared about my vision of traveling around the country in Freedom selling my books and giving workshops and seminars, but it hadn’t manifested, as yet. Partly because my self-confidence had waned, and partly because first I’d been focusing on my inner healing, and then on Van’s; and mostly, because we had fallen into the retirement mode, and liked it, so didn’t really want to make the effort to fulfill my vision. And furthermore, I just didn’t feel ready. After all, if it’s God’s Plan, then it will happen in Divine Timing.

But, in the meantime, Business on Wheels seemed like excellent preparation, and we had taken several steps toward this becoming a reality, such as placing a small American flag, which I’d bought in Branson, over the window in the door, and the company signs in the front and back windows, and also over the sink.

This meant advertising, and attracting attention to ourselves, which would mean people asking us questions, and our having to reveal ourselves and what we do. Somehow, this had seemed threatening, but I often wondered if it was my concern, or if I had taken on Van’s non-social personality. The truth is that I had once been very outgoing and sociable, but now I preferred to hide, under the cloak of anonymity. So, with the first steps accomplished, and with our Two Minute Commercial, and answers to “What is it?” we were ready to meet our public.

But Van had mentioned several other preparation steps: getting Freedom ready for the road, and he had discussed with our group member, TC, the mechanic with the RV dealership, about having that handled, before our travels. Also, I had asked Steve about having Freedom washed and polished, and he promised to talk with the appropriate person.

Further steps meant an inner transition, such as emptying shelves of ministerial agenda, and making room for products that we could sell along the way. Also, we had been accumulating more extra products, and Van mentioned that we should order the company catalogues, so we could give them (with our address and phone # ) to interested prospective customers along the way, with the purpose of them becoming Preferred Customers; a must for ongoing retail business. In fact, we had already ordered brochures and Application Forms.

I could see that with this preparation, and ultimately augmenting the concept, I would eventually be able to incorporate my books into the program. And that, too, would take further preparation, such as finishing them. I had talked with my granddaughter, Airica, about doing the correction and revision, and she seemed interested, so time would tell how that would unfold. But I knew that it would be in God’s perfect time, if this was, indeed, His Plan.

You Already Have What You Want
When I awoke the next morning, before beginning my Prayer Time, I began thinking about the previous evening’s events, and Van’s goals supporting mine. I recalled that I had recently began to understand that his approach probably came from endeavoring to please his mother and avoid confrontation by otherwise opposing her, and that he had transferred this philosophy, while living with me. I often complained that he projected onto me his mother’s characteristics to such an extent, that I had become his mother; a reality that I didn’t appreciate, but had decided to accept.

After all, it’s not bad having someone support your every whim, so why not enjoy it? And that’s when my inner voice said, “You already have what you want, so what are you complaining about?”
I decided, “Nothing, really.” Of course, it didn’t fit my pictures of how life was going to be, but it was workable. So, when Van awoke, I asked what he planned for the day, and he said, “Print copies of our first $300.00 check. And later on, I’ll help Dottie get her printer working.” Yep, it’s workable!

As the morning progressed, and I was busily fulfilling my passion at the computer, Van pursued his passion of trying to discover why the printer wasn’t working, so he could fix it. Finally, he read the manual and discovered that he needed to replace the ink cartridge, which I had mentioned much earlier. Within minutes, he had 20 copies of our first check to enclose with my future newsletters to prospects. As they say, “Money talks.”

Later, Dottie called to see if we wanted to go to the bank.
“I’m busy with my passion,” I replied, “but Van may want to deposit this check.”
Actually, we decided to have him print a colored copy at Office Depot to keep for our archives, and then he deposited the precious check in the account we had opened several weeks earlier.

Our Business Mission Statement
After writing my Inner Freedom Mission Statement, I realized that there is a difference between one’s passion, goals, purpose, dreams, Magnificent Obsession, and Mission Statement. But, I went into confusion over the definitions, so I moved on to writing the next chapter, and came back to this later, when my Inner Guidance popped it into my mind one evening, after one of our business partners, instigated a discussion on the subject.
I realized that “helping people” was no longer in my vocabulary, having learned it’s a “no no” in Codependence Anonymous (Coda). But, I suppose the compulsion, if that’s what it is, will always remain. Yet, I would like to think the desire to assist people in attaining a more enjoyable life is a more humanitarian urge. After all, they give Nobel Peace Awards to Sister Theresa, and thank God for those who care about others. Do we label all caregivers as “Codependent”?

In Coda, we learn that there is a difference between “helping” and supporting. The difference is when the help is wanted and asked for; not thrust upon when not wanted.

In any event, here is my Mission Statement for our business: To offer people the opportunity to improve their health, finances, lifestyle and attitudes, as God guides.
This does not mean to inflict my interests and opinions on others, but to “offer” the information, and respect their right to say “No.” And the phrase, “as God guides,” is the clue.
There are times when God guides an action or response on my part that is not necessarily conducive to a positive reaction, at the time, but the ultimate results are beneficial.

For instance, as Van was going through his healing and recovery process, there were times when my actions and words were not what he wanted to hear, nor what I wanted to say, for instance, but they caused an upheaval that forced the buried issues to surface, and thus become exposed and healed. I’ll admit there were times I wondered if there could possibly be anything constructive from our sessions, especially since our first years were compatible. But, that’s because Van was in denial, not expressing his true feelings or desires; and I was into codependency, pleasing at any cost. Actually, so was he; it just manifested differently, such as passive-aggressive behavior: seeming to give what was required, but underneath the intention was to do exactly as he pleased. What a no-win that becomes in this hopeless game. And thank God it’s over, no matter what the cost.

However, we had an agreement that we would work through these issues, so I was responding as God guided. And during my Changing Money Patterns workshops, and other counseling processes, I would speak or act as God guided, to accomplish the desired results of blasting out the buried issues and emotions; again, people had asked.

“I, of Myself, Can do Nothing”
Writing these words, and remembering my previous accomplishments in assisting people to change their money patterns, I can see the possibility of combining my expertise with this business. Because some people will take the products for health challenges and have no results. On the other hand, people will enter into the business and seemingly follow the format, yet their business does not prosper. Yet, both may be successful in accomplishing what they desired.

This is because they are not aware of the patterns, based on childhood issues that are motivating their results. For they are, indeed, having results; only not the ones they think they want. However, the results are exactly what they subconsciously programmed and projected. For instance, in Van’s case, he continually experienced so-called failure in his projects, endeavors, or schemes.

Why? Because his subconscious attempt was to attain love, especially from his mother and family members. This would be accomplished by his need to borrow money to finance his projects. Somehow, the love relationship between them became a game based on the fact that she showed love by giving him money; the more money, the more love. And that’s also why he borrowed money from other family members, and didn’t pay it back. Their money proved their love for him. Not paying them back was his way to hold onto his concept of love.
I can remember Van once explaining a similar pattern with procrastination: if he didn’t do what they wanted, or give them what they requested, it kept them wanting him or his services; and this became another love association for him with them. I labeled this game: Withholding, and whenever it came into play, I would blow sky high; because, at least, it was one that I could recognize and identify.

It took many years for me to recognize and identify the other patterns and games. And there were times when his subconscious, or inner child, or ego, would resent my God-given ability to see through his outer cover-up and identify his carefully concealed (unconsciously) behavior.

I’m sure that trained counselors and psychiatrists learn and understand these antics, but I was living on the battleground of experience, and with God’s guidance, I eventually recognized and understood the patterns and games, and became an expert in my own rights; at least enough to support him through his healing and recovery; and also others with the same patterns and issues. This Inner Guidance gives me the authority of being a Spiritual Counselor, and I am quite good. However, I do not brag on my authority, but I rejoice in the God-Power within that guides me. I could not do it, otherwise.
As I’m writing, I am realizing that it is this Inner Guidance that is my passion. Writing is simply another expression of this Inner Guidance. Without it, my writing would be wordless, for God gives me the words to write.

I do not have characters in mind, or a plot, or story, as do most writers. My words spring forth through me onto the page. Oh, sometimes, I get an inkling what to start writing about, but, as the Bible says, “I, of myself, can do nothing. It is not I, but the Father within, who doeth the works.” Writing allows the words to flow, and thus the feeling of the Presence of God, which is the reason for my passion to write.

Chapter 5
“LET EVERYTHING BE DONE DECENTLY AND IN ORDER”
1 Corinthians 14:40

Goal Statement
This title came to me during my morning meditation, as I was reflecting on the previous day’s activities. I had no idea I was into another chapter, because we were still enmeshed in our new assignment: Turn the goals into a Goal Statement applicable to thirty days from now. This involved capsulizing, or organizing our thoughts, into a concise format, rather than scattering or dissipating our focus.

Certainly, this is another valuable tool for success, and equally challenging. But, I had already begun, as I dated 30 days ahead: July 16, 1999. Oregon. We have supported Marquam in signing up his two partners for his business to be flourishing, and we are both prospering: He has received his first $300.00 bonus check, and he feels confident in his accomplishments, and ready to move forward on his own. We have received $900.00 in bonus checks, and we now move onward to Northern California to work with Henry as he signs up, and builds his business. And we have 10 Preferred Customers, who are ordering products from the catalogue and benefiting with abundant health.

The goal projection certainly seemed focused and attainable, as we had already taken steps in that direction. For instance, I had written a lengthy and informative letter to Marquam, challenging him to attend three business meetings, before our departure; and setting him on a course of homework similar to our assignments in the Training Meetings. And, I had also written to Henry encouraging him to become a Preferred Customer, with the goal of signing up in the business within three months. In addition, I had sent several letters to prospective Preferred Customers.

Unearthing the Past
Van, too, was doing his part with the business management, and he had taken steps for the repairs to be made on Freedom. In addition, he spent time learning to format for making our new return address labels for our business. This project had been challenging, as he needed to study the computer manual and move forward in his accomplishments. Dottie and Arianna also wanted labels for their businesses, so his project was expanding.
However, we seemingly got off-track on Sunday afternoon, as we tackled a more physical job. I had given my granddaughter a box of dishes that had belonged to her great-grandmother, and promised to find the rest of the set and bring on our next trip. They were buried somewhere amongst the boxes in our storage area (under the stairs in Dottie’s basement). Unfortunately, everything had been transferred from a storage unit, by Steve and Jason, while we were traveling, so I had no idea where anything was. In the meantime, Cousin John had asked me for some pictures of his family that I had stored in a box of Mom Freeland’s belongings. So, our laborious task became to remove everything from the center of the 5 ft. x 8 ft. area, and reorganize, while locating the boxes.

This chore meant getting into memories of the past, while unearthing the belongings of these important women in my life; neither were my natural mother (though a box of her belongings were also here), but each had been mother roles in my life. Mom Freeland had been my adopted mother and raised me from the age of two-and-a-half, and for better-or-worse, she was actually the only mothering I’d known, until I was fifteen; but that’s another story.

On the other hand, my dad’s mother, whom I called Nana, had taken me in from then, until I married, at age 18. I always told her that I had the only peace in my life, while living with her. My first years were disrupted by my mother having a nervous breakdown and being placed in a mental hospital, while I was shuffled around to other schizophrenic relatives, before going to my paternal grandparents. And that security came to an abrupt end when I became a teenager, and Mom Freeland became an alcoholic. So Nana was a peaceful sanctuary during my teens.

Of course, those years are volatile enough, just trying to survive, and mine were no exception, as I’d become involved with an adult hockey player, and he occupied my love interests, so the normal teenage process was thwarted by a more intense relationship. His influence, though positive in many ways, also caused me trauma, because he was a handsome womanizer, though I thought I was his only love.

Fortunately, I married Randal, when I was 18, and the next seventeen-years were involved with the usual marriage and child-raising activities, until I felt he wasn’t happy with me, and I did him a favor of divorcing.
Then followed a marriage to Eric for three years, and the interlude with Cousin John (which we both prefer to forget), and various relationships through the seventies, until I finally met and married Van.

I felt like my life was flashing before my eyes, as I reconnected with all the boxes containing the memories. But, the years of healing and recovery must have done their work, because I felt no pain, sadness, or regret; only a slight inkling that I might, someday, like to have my belongings around me, again, in my own home.
But, for now, I must simply say: “That was then; this is now.” And, once the boxes were found, and the rest of them juggled around, and reorganized, I felt comfortable in moving forward with my life in its present course.
However, before we left the basement storage area, I listed each stack of boxes, and their contents, so next time I went on a Treasure Hunt, I’d know where to look: books in one section, photo albums and pictures in another, dishes and glassware on top (rather than bottom, where they had been placed). I’d intended to sort through the books and donate to the church, but I found myself unable to release them, at this time; so I let that be okay. They are such an important part of my life, like family and friends, and I hope to have them surrounding me on bookshelves someday. In fact, I foresee a time when I will resume my writing and perhaps, even my ministry. Until then, my belongings are safe in Dottie’s basement, under the stairs. And the amount of the monthly storage rent that’s being saved is paying off their purchase of our Volvo. So, in my opinion, this is a win-win arrangement.

“For God is not a God of Confusion”
I must admit, however, that I felt the buried passion return, when my Inner Guidance said to look up the above Bible verse, and I opened to the page, and began reading. Though this is not a Bible course, I will always share my spiritual insights on the inner journey.

For instance, this verse is spoken by Paul, when addressing the Corinthians on the subject of prophesies and speaking in tongues. While refreshing myself on these words, I found another appropriate verse, “For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33).” Tears come to my eyes at the magnitude of this promise.
And reading further, I found more hope, as Paul discusses the subject of The Resurrection, concluding one discourse with the words, “But each in his own order (1 Cor. 15:23).” The reassurance and peace of these Bible readings reminded me of an important factor in moving forward. This is God’s business, and I must always keep balance by taking time to refresh myself with His Words, while always keeping focus on Him and His Presence. And, of course, this is further insight into my chapter on the Magnificent Obsession.

But, for now, the subject is Order, and I have a lot more to say. For instance, I’ve written a twelve booklet course titled, Transformation: a Twelvefold Process, based on Unity’s teachings of the Twelve Powers (Centers) of Man. Order, one of the Powers, teaches the importance of Divine Order, Timing, Balance and Harmony. And, in fact, the title of this chapter is quoted in the booklet, aptly titled: Order.
It’s interesting to note that this same meditation that gave me this chapter title, also brought to my attention that I haven’t finished revising the series into its final version; another incompletion. And completion is part of the recovery process, so it would be timely to finish these booklets.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel that I have time, now, but God has given me to understand that I don’t have to do it myself. In fact, my granddaughter, Airica, a computer whiz, once helped with some revising, and had again asked for the opportunity. I’d been searching for the right project, and my Inner Guidance indicated this would be the one. Since she is currently unemployed, and recovering from the grief process of the Columbine High School massacre, this would occupy her time, now that her former classmates have returned to school (sharing Chatfield High School: 3:00 — 9:00 p.m.). I’ve allotted money for this purpose, and would pay for her time, so it looks like another win-win situation.

Win-Win
As I’m writing, I’m reminded that the Rainbow Connection, my monthly publication for and about the Freedomers, was based on these Twelve Powers (one each month) for the four years of its existence. And one featured subject for Order was the idea of win-win. In other words, when we live life from everyone winning, rather than someone winning and another losing, it becomes a win-win.

And that’s another tool for a successful business. Without the wasted energy on competition, everyone wins. As I’m writing, and recalling recent news coverage about the Columbine students sharing the Chatfield school facilities, it’s significant that these have always been rival schools; and now they must overcome these prejudices in order to move forward. Yes, it’s one incident, but like the choir sang in our church, Sunday, “when we tear down the walls, they will be replaced with love and peace.”

What these two schools are doing is the beginning of a transition that will soon become a Quantum Leap, and the peace that we crave will be established as part of the order of the universe. This is a promise, and it is fulfilled, according to another Bible verse I was guided to read, as a result of my morning meditation: “I die daily (1 Cor. 15:32).”

In other words, these changes do not come from revolution, but evolution, gradually over time, as each one takes steps to make the changes on a day-by-day basis. This involves making different choices that will bring different results.

It’s said that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, so restoring the universe to sanity will mean each of us making different choices that will lead to a peaceful world. And they will need to be based on win-win, rather than competition, or “What’s in it for me?”
And the choices must be made by individuals within families; for instance, Airica and I working together peacefully, with understanding, instead of the past generational confrontations.

“Divine Order and Timing”
“Isn’t it terrible about the tornado in Oklahoma City?” Eunice, a neighbor with whom I was chatting in the spring sunshine, asked me.
“Good Heavens,” I gasped, I had no idea they have tornadoes in that area this time of year. We just drove through there last week.”
“Oh yes, homes were demolished, people killed, and cars thrown off the highway.”

I was stunned, as we had just driven across that area on our return from Branson. And I thought the storm we had forged through was bad enough. I paused to reflect on the goodness and blessing of God’s Timing, while sending prayers for the people who had been devastated by, yet, another tragedy. I couldn’t help but reflect on the beliefs that many share, at this turn of the millennium, that the weather changes are a preview to violent earth changes, and the more chaos I see, the more I’m beginning to subscribe to the possibilities.

Yet, I must return to the title of this chapter, Let Everything be done decently and in Order.” Surely God is a God of Order, and I must continually remind myself of this Truth. Yet, what is the Order of the Oklahoma devastation? Or is it simply that Mother Nature is doing her thing, and we are innocent victims?”
I have heard that none of us are victims; but that we each know, on some level, what is to transpire in our lives, for we are here for our souls to evolve, as we learn the necessary lessons that we understood, before birth.

Watch Your Stinking Thinking
Of course, one of the lessons, as mentioned above, is based on the admonition: Watch Your Stinking Thinking; another way of saying, “Thoughts held in mind, produce after their kind.” In other words, we must learn to discipline our rampant thoughts, and bring them into alignment with God’s will for good. With this in mind, we realize the Truth of the Bible admonishment, “By your fruits ye shall know them.” How can we continually watch evil, violent, negative programs, and not expect that they will bring forth equal results in our consciousness, and in our lives. The very industry that is now trashing our minds, has given us an apt explanation: “Garbage in; garbage out,” and denial of this fact will not change it.

This reality is apparent when reading about the boys who massacred the students and teacher at Columbine High School. Now, the facts are surfacing that the boys watched violent, explosive computer games, and eventually got onto chat lines with Klu Klux Klan members, White Supremacists, and other non-conformists who are acting-out the violence in our world. Their greatest and most deadly encounter was “The Jolly Roger Cookbook,” over 300 pages of deadly recipes for bombs and other explosives.

Of course, these are extreme examples of outer actions resulting from inner thinking. And it is only the tip of the iceberg. Most of us close our eyes and say, “There’s nothing I can do about it.” But there is. We can each take responsibility for our thinking, and for what we allow into our minds through television, computers, books and newspapers. And what we do, as an outer expression of our inner chaos, such as our words and action that reflect violence and negativity.

What does all this have to do with business? Everything. Because the success or failure of our business is a direct reflection of our inner turmoil. The patterns that have become established from childhood experiences and issues are reflected as the blocks and obstacles to success.

Ernie Larson, an authority on inner child recovery says, “What you live with you learn, and what you learn, you practice, and what you practice, you become; and what you become has consequences.” An appalling summation of life, but powerful and true. Really look at your life, and you will see the truth of these words, though most of us don’t want to admit it, and would prefer to stay in denial.

However, as I said earlier, “if you want the same results, keep doing the same thing.” And, I might add, if you want different results, do something different.

Do Something Different
Because we are here in Colorado, as I write, and the intensity of the Columbine High School massacre is still being felt, especially as we’re staying at the home of my daughter (though in our own motor home), we are daily exposed to the activities of the students and families, as reported by my granddaughter, Airica, who is still trying to move through and beyond her personal grief over the tragedy.

And, of course, the magazines and newspapers are still trying to sort out and report the enormity of the situation for us to understand its cause, and hopefully do something to offset a future repercussion. My daughter, and perhaps many others, have become so saturated and overwhelmed with it that they no longer wish to discuss the tragedy, and are busy getting on with life.

But, I wasn’t here, at the time, and I missed the early TV and newspaper reports, so I am studying the bottom-line accounts in such magazines as “People,” because I am interested in the human interest aspect, and because I want to understand.

Looking at the pictures and reading the short biography of these youngsters, and one teacher, I find it difficult to make sense or order out of the chaos and grief. The only thing that makes sense to me, as I mentioned earlier, is that there is a much larger overall Plan, and that God knows what He’s doing. It helps me to know that we are all here (no matter what age) to complete our soul evolution, and some have done so at earlier ages than others, and are able to move on, without having to go through the rest of this experience called life, on this planet called earth.

Most, if not all, of the victims were good people by most standards. They attended church, loved their parents, and attempted to become involved in the acceptable activities of life. Many were planning futures of contribution to society, through church or college programs. And it seems such a tragedy that these lives were nipped in the bud by such senseless acts.

Yet, we hear about the equally devastating tragedy and cessation of life in Oklahoma and Kansas, this time by an act of nature, and we are still searching for answers. Doesn’t it make sense that there is an overall Plan, and God does know what He’s doing, and that everything is being done “decently and in order?”

At least, I find comfort in this realization, and I am able to accept the seemingly senseless actions with this explanation. I’m not saying that I understand them, but I am able to accept the reality of Divine Order and Divine Timing. And as I do, there seems to be less chaos and inharmony in my personal life, and a greater sense of peace and serenity. And life seems to be working for us, as I align myself with God’s Perfect Plan for good; and leave the fulfillment to Him, as I daily follow His Guidance.

Chapter 6
“BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN”

Not Basic Black
Gene Autry, or one of the singing cowboys, used to sing of the joy and freedom of riding the open range on his horse. But, the song always makes me think of the discomfort the poor animal feels, being cinched up in that saddle. I once owned horses, and I remember that when you think it’s tight, you have to cinch even tighter, because the smart horse has distended its breath, and if you tried to mount, the saddle would fall off.

As we went through the process of attending meetings, seminars and classes, I could relate quite well with the horse having that saddle cinched in place, especially after the freedom of our retirement. Now, getting back into the required attire and regimen of the professional business person was cinching tighter, and part of me rebelled.

However, as Dottie, outfitted in her sleek black pin-striped suit, or black slacks, urged me to dress professionally, I condescended by replacing my tank-top undergarment with a bra, and suffered with aches and pains from my rebelling body. But, I refused to succumb to basic black, so I wore my loose-fitting blue or pink pantsuit. And on more formal occasions, I wore my colorful blazer.

On the other hand, Ralph, as we now called my husband, in an effort to establish our new image, continued to wear his blue denims and white sweatshirt, over another casual top, in case the weather warmed up. Fortunately, there were always others dressed with equal comfort. After all, many retirees from Corporate America were also rebelling against conformity. And it really didn’t matter that much. The business image is a matter of individual preference. Although, when anyone balks at conformity, someone asks, “How important is your success?”

And it wasn’t only the clothes that needed adjustment; it was attitude, which required changing from the unsuccessful patterns of the past. It’s been said, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, so when Steve harps by asking, “What are you willing to give up?” something has to give; like the horse’s belly, when the cinch is tightened.

Van and I had agreed that we would give up our retirement, which was easier said than done; we were enjoying the slower pace and freedom of our lifestyle. Now, we often arose at 7:30, and sometimes several hours earlier in order to attend Saturday workshops or trainings.

One such event is an all-day training on the basic steps toward becoming successful entrepreneurs. Dottie, an Executive Coordinator, conducted this, with the assistance of Rob, because Steve still maintains his day-job, as an RV salesman, which requires him to work Saturdays.

This event is held in their basement meeting room, so we can easily make the 9:00 a.m. starting time, from our RV parked in front. An overhead projector allows them to present the infinity of material that we have already heard several different times. But, that’s okay, because we are told: “See it presented seven different times from seven different people in seven different ways.” We were well on our way, and this time we were given a signed certificate, which is required in order to attend the awesome Executive Coordinator’s Training (ECCT), later in the month.

But, this certificate must also be signed by a Certified Trainer at the New Distributors Training, which we attended the next Wednesday evening. Fortunately, Dottie and Steve drove us there for a refresher, so transportation was handled.

For those who balk at attending training’s, the presenter, David, informed us that MacDonald’s, which is a franchise following a proven business plan, requires one full year’s attendance at “Hamburger U”, as it is called, after paying a million dollars for the privilege. So our business, which also follows a proven business plan, requires a relatively minimum training time.

Nevertheless, my attention span turned-off long before the evening was over, and I went into total confusion. But, I was assured that we would be having a repeat of this information at the ECCT the following Saturday.
Dottie and Steve are on the Leadership Team for Denver, and insist that we sit in the front row, “where the money-makers sit,” as we are reminded. And, also, the guests of the featured speaker, sat next to us, so were “Back in the Saddle, Again,” in attire and format.

Dottie assisted in presenting the products, and then began to introduce the guest speaker. But, she became confused when told to introduce her husband, Steve, so she asked someone else to introduce him.
We later learned that Steve had been asked, fifteen-minutes before the meeting, to present the Business Plan, and Dottie had not been informed, so she could be surprised. We also discovered that this was his first “Hotel Business Plan,” but he did a relaxed, yet expert presentation, and we knew he would be asked again.
We were thrilled to be participating in the beginnings of this Network Marketing Business in the Denver area, and agreed that next year would see the amphitheater filled.

To continue our marathon meeting attendance, we went to the Friday night Training. I had been busy preparing a booklet of a chapter, What is Your Magnificent Obsession?, from my book, originally titled Business Can Be Fun, to present to each member, with the help of Dottie’s editing, and Ralph’s computer formatting. The timing was a pressure push, but we got it done and gave the gifts.

My enthusiasm had been somewhat squelched that morning when Steve glanced through the first few pages and said, “You’re not supposed to make copies of your BV checks to present to your prospects, which you mention here.”

That evening, I made sure the group understood about this faux pas, and I said that it would be deleted from the next printings, and I would no longer send copies of that precious check.”

But this incident brought up another deep-rooted issue that began festering. It reminded me of another time when I had been happy about an article that had been written in a local newspaper about my Inner Freedom Ministry. I had informed the reporter three times not to mention me as an ordained Unity minister, for I was not ordained through Unity. But, as fate would have it, she did; and also, as fate would have it, a copy was sent to Unity headquarters, and I was reprimanded, which further drove a nail in my relationship with Unity. I’d written a letter to explain, but the fact that my integrity had been questioned was painful.

And, the incident added fuel to the smoldering issue of being falsely accused or blamed: something I say or do causes problems, either for me or someone else. This probably goes back to childhood, when I was told to take care of my mother, though I was only two-years-old, and then she got sick, became mentally ill, and was put in a mental institution. Dad eventually got a divorce, and our family was dissolved; I went to live with relatives, and my baby brother, Gary, was placed in an orphanage, and somehow, it was all my fault.

Needless to say, this issue was not over, yet, because when it’s up to be dealt with, it won’t go away, unless one is in denial, or unwilling to deal with it.
My resolution came quickly, when we attended the Executive Coordinator Training the next day.

This is a Test!
Up early in the morning and drive two hours to Colorado Springs for the ECCT by 9:00 a.m. for the intensive six-hour training that covers complex subjects, such as policy, marketing procedure and other details for managing our business according to the proven business plan presented in our Career Manuals. Like MacDonald’s or any franchise, everything you ever wanted to know is handled in the manual, and you had better know how to do it right.

Our business follows this same procedure, which is a mixed blessing. No matter what might occur, it’s covered in the inch-thick Career Manual — over 300 pages. But, this means it must be memorized, or otherwise implanted in our minds. With our faltering short-term memories, this prospect became a threatening ordeal, especially with lingering attention deficit disorder, despite the improvement from taking OPC-3 for a year. For instance, I’d noticed at Training that a certain amount of input was processed, and then my Overload Button was pushed, and nothing else entered my computer; it did, but it wasn’t stored.

To make matters worse, we were told that we would be given a test, at the end of the training. Good Heavens! I might as well leave now, and save myself the time and frustration. However, we were reassured that it was “open book,” and not to worry, everyone passes.

But early into the myriad of material, I panicked. I knew I couldn’t cope with the test. Perhaps this was a sign that we weren’t ready, and it wasn’t time to become Executive Coordinators. Actually, we would not be qualified for this advancement, until Marquam became activated with his two business partners, so there was no time pressure. However, Dottie insisted that it would be to our advantage to take the training now, as we would only be given 28 days, after we were qualified, to take it. So, here we were.

During a brief break, Dottie informed us that Ralph and I are partners in the business, and would work as a team in taking the test. Then I relaxed, because I knew that he would retain the information.
But when we were given the 50-question test (part Multiple Choice and part True or False) my mind became a blur, and Ralph went blank; but together we forged ahead, though we were the last to finish, and were told to complete it, while the rest were correcting theirs.

Later, Dottie corrected our test, and discovered that Ralph and I missed ten — five more than allowed — so we stood in the dummies line (anyone missing over five) and soon learned that we must repeat the training next month, in order to qualify as Executive Coordinators. However, we were given our certificate, and told that we could repeat the training in Oregon.

Magnificent Obsession: Squelched or Fulfilled?
One of the subjects covered, during the training, related to policy about correspondence regarding the business and another presented very clear rules relating to copying our bonus volume checks; they could not be used to entice prospects into the business. Therefore, Steve was partially right about my statement in the booklet that I had “copied and sent them to prospects.” However, there was a loophole saving grace: “first time checks could be shown.”

Nevertheless, after hearing the strict policy relating to restrictions of what could and could not be said, even in personal letters, and especially in e-mail, I froze. Now we were back to the authority figures controlling our lives, and I rebelled. In fact, I was about ready to quit, which is another pattern.

But, instead, I took a copy of my booklet, which I had been guided to take with me, to our leader and explained that I’m a writer and we travel in our motor home across the country, while I write. “This book, Business on the Road, is about our business,” I explained.

She suggested that I could change the company name, or make it generic, but I insisted that I wanted company approval, so she said she would read the booklet and decide the next procedure, and let me know via e-mail or cell phone.

I knew this was another pattern change and felt relieved that I was doing it right. In fact, I became excited about the possibility that my book could become a company publication. Who knows? Why not think big. Perhaps this was part of the fulfillment of my Magnificent Obsession. God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. So, I released the outcome.

However, I decided that I’m going to write the book, anyway, as it chronicles our travels and the growth of our business. So, if nothing else, it would remain my personal journal. At this point, the worst that could happen would be a warning not to publish it, or otherwise make it public. No problem; I have many others to complete and publish, when the time comes. In the meantime, our energies must be put into building this business and providing a steady income to enjoy our retirement.

Another Month of Meetings and Training’s
The next morning Dottie called Marquam (in Oregon) to ask if he had taken the Basic Training. He said he had been called to work, and missed it. I was disappointed, because I had asked him to attend three meetings, before we left for Oregon, to show his good intentions. We would be leaving, within a week, and the prospects of his getting to a meeting were narrowing. However, Dottie reminded him of another meeting the next week, and he promised to attend.

During their conversation, she learned that he had a June Calendar, so they went over the list of meetings, training’s and seminars, and discovered the ECCT that we must attend was June 5th, during the yearly District Rally, an important opportunity for us to share with Marquam.

These early June dates sealed our proposed trip into a definite time-frame; leave this week. Now, we had an additional pressure, because TC had not completed the repairs on Freedom, parked in front of Dottie’s, while we were at the training. But he promised to finish Sunday, if Ralph would drive the motor home to TC’s home, where he had the needed equipment.

Later in the day, we learned that one of the parts was the wrong size, so the job wouldn’t be completed, until late the next day. So, Van returned and drove Freedom home. In addition, another project, welding the black water tank (sewage), could not be finished, either, because it needed emptying, again. This meant another trip to Flying J Truck Stop, and postponing our planned visit with his cousin, Natalie.

Now, we were on a time limit, and I began to feel the pressure. This too, was a pattern, and one we had enjoyed not having, while in our leisurely retirement lifestyle. But, now we were “Back in the Saddle, Again,” and adjustments must be made.

“You Really Like Me”
I remember history being made the night Sally Field’s won the Oscar for her performance in Norma Rae, and her tearful, but joyous Acceptance Speech began, “You Really Like Me.” I can relate to her feelings, because I had occasion to feel the same way when I finally checked my e-mail (after having been too busy with meetings and other projects).

Despite years of therapy, recovery programs and inner work, I still seem to have an underlying message that says, “They don’t like me.” It’s part of a rejection syndrome that is firmly imbedded from having been abandoned by my natural parents and adopted by my paternal grandfather and his second wife, whom I refer to as Mom and Dad Freeland. It seems that no amount of acceptance and reassurance makes up for that initial experience of having been rejected, whether justified (as with Mother’s nervous breakdown) or not.

In fact, I’ve concluded that’s the subconscious reason that I withhold from putting myself out there with my books; and it’s also a block that hold back our business. So, even though I have presented information and our story about the OPC-3 product benefiting us, to friends and family, I fear that it will cause them to reject me. And, if I don’t hear from them, it only confirms my suspicions.
The truth is that this is the real holdback to moving forward with our business. There, now that I’ve said it, I can continue.

Two of these family members are experiencing some health challenges. I’ve attempted to support my mother’s namesake, but she’s a busy single career gal, in her thirties, and it’s difficult to make contact. However, we’ve managed a few communications via e-mail, and I finally felt secure enough in our relationship to suggest that she take OPC-3. And then I didn’t hear from her again. So, I chalked it off as another rejection, and moved on; but the underlying pain piled on top of the heap.

How happy I was to find a loving message from her on my e-mail, apologizing for her delay in responding and thanking me for my encouragement and support. “She really likes me!” I could feel the ton of elephants walk off my chest, as I read her letter, and responded. This time I felt brave enough to offer to send her an Application Form for Preferred Customers, and suggesting that it would be a convenient way to order the OPC-3, without our needing to keep in contact. Again, I felt the same tightness of holding my breath, but somehow I felt more confident and secure in our relationship.

Also on the e-mail was a short message from my brother, Tom, telling of a short vacation in the desert (California), from his busy schedule running his restaurant. He mentioned that he had fallen asleep, while sunbathing, and had a “scathing sunburn,” concluding with “Ouch, double ouch.”

I responded by suggesting a preventative sunscreen for future reference, and then mentioning aloe vera as an antidote. Feeling braver, I said that we sell this product, along with other equally useful ones, and I would send him a catalogue. Then, thinking about his financial struggle with the restaurant, I offered to send him a tape about our business.

All this was a giant step forward for me, and it felt good to push through the emotional blocks involved. That night, I prayed to God to remove all energies from me associated with that negative pattern, and restore them to positive and productive energies for good.

And I remembered the Sunday service about God’s Grace, realizing that it’s a free gift, unearned, but bestowed upon us out of God’s Love, because He “Really Likes Us.”

Ready for the Next Level
An assignment during our Training was to write on a 3×5 card a consolidation of our Goal Statement. Of course, Dottie and Steve always do theirs too; and this time they wrote: Master Coordinator by May 30, 1999.
I’ve always said that God gives us what we really want, and sometimes the fulfillment of our desire requires inner and outer adjustments. This is especially true when we’re ready for a major shift, such as a higher pin level like Master Coordinator.

The other part of God fulfilling our wants is more complex. You see, there are many levels of consciousness, such as subconscious, conscious and superconscious; and there are many facets of ourselves, such as inner child and ego, all demanding their say in our reality. So, if they are not in alignment, we can be sending mixed messages to God, and one with the loudest request is heard, so to speak.

That’s often when the sabotage occurs, such as the inner child blowing up relationships, jobs, or other unwanted (on their part) activities; because it interferes with their idea of fun. Therefore, if inner child recovery work has not been completed, do not be surprised when you make a strong affirmation or set a desired goal, only to find total chaos in your life.

Dottie knows about this, but she was not prepared for the avalanche of events that took place; all in one day. Of course, we always think we have done our preparation work and this time will be a piece of cake. Wrong!
She survived the news from Steve that his daytime job was in jeopardy at the dealership where he worked, because of internal politics and personalities. And she calmly supported a downline through adjusting a policy procedure. But her composure began to crumble when her daughter, Arianna, announced that she hadn’t been able to replenish her bank account (after having been unemployed, while building her business), and therefore her automatic monthly payment for products didn’t happen, and she was no longer qualified.

At first, Dottie attempted to fix it, but having taken the ECCT that weekend, the policies were fresh in her mind, and she knew that Arianna would simply have to take the consequences, and essentially start over.
This meant that she was no longer activated, and the repercussions were becoming too intense, as the domino effect brought Dottie to the realization that this meant Arianna’s upline would no longer be activated. Worse yet, he was the second personal sign-up that activated Dottie and Steve, so they would no longer be activated.

At this point, my inner child (Joanie)freaked, because it reminded her of the childhood trauma when her mother (who was supposed to be taking care of her) went berserk and was placed in the mental hospital, catapulting Joanie from her parents into other family homes. Now, she felt threatened, because her sponsors were in jeopardy, and she feared the repercussions for herself. She panicked and immediately resorted to a pattern: food. This added to Dottie’s overload, because she felt she needed to take care of feeding us, though I had already surveyed the refrigerator and decided that I needed to go to a restaurant, which is part of the nurturing substitution process.
I finally realized that the pattern was firing off, so again rummaged through the refrigerator to find the makings for a sandwich, but Dottie took over and tossed out some containers of leftovers, and stomped through the house.

As if all this wasn’t enough, her teenage daughter, Airica, was intent upon arranging airline reservations to California for a two-week vacation, and, of course, it had to be done NOW. The problem was that her phone wasn’t working properly, and she wanted to use Dottie’s, which was busy with emergency calls to Steve, and to their upline. This was a “bridge too far” for Dottie, and disaster was imminent.

Finally, my adult self took over and explained to Airica that a crisis was going on, and suggested that it would help if she could understand and not add to the problem at this time. Fortunately, she quieted down, but the stress was too much for her, so she arranged to stay with a girlfriend for the rest of the day and night.
Dottie had to rush out on errands, and by this time we needed to leave in order to take care of our commitments for the day.

Getting Ready for the Road, Again
We had to drive back out past the airport to Flying J Truck Stop and empty our black water tank again, and then to TC’s so he could complete the project of repairing it, and also replacing the shocks. While he was at it, Van asked if we had an airbag, which is supposed to alleviate the heavy jolts. Sure enough, we had one, but the air had long ago leaked out, which explained the rough rides; of course, added to the totally worn shocks. So, the $250.00 repair expenses, which included the previous work he’d completed, was a good investment, and TC did an excellent job.

Now, Freedom was ready to travel, but we still had another project to get ourselves ready for the road. I had complimented Georgia, at our mail box center, on her haircut, and learned that Robin, two shops over, cut it, so I walked in and said, “I want my hair cut like Georgia’s.”

Van got his hair cut, too, while Robin skillfully, and quickly, created the exact razor cut style I wanted. Because customers had been lined up when we stopped in earlier, and again, when we returned, I asked if her hands hurt. She complained of intense pain in her hands, so I said “You really should call my daughter, and hear her story.”

While I prepared a business card to give her, she grimaced with pain, from having been on her feet all day. So, I told her “The OPC-3 helps circulation and feet aches, too,” as I handed her Dottie’s card, and ours too.
By now, it was 8:30, and past closing time, so she excused herself and began her closing procedure, explaining that she’s the manager, so I told her the financial possibilities of the business, and only working part-time, and, as we left, I said, “Give Dottie a call.”

Second Look
Van had been telling Bill, the owner of the mail box franchise, about the financial opportunities with our business, and had invited him to our Second Look at the Sheraton Hotel. This monthly event, designed for everyone to bring guests for a “Second Look” at the business opportunity, would be the first one that Dottie and Steve presented alone, without a guest speaker or other members of the Denver Leadership Team assisting.
We were all excited, because the downline would be on the support team, giving the product presentations; and Arianna and Cindy would be the receptionists. Van and I helped with the setup and take down. And several other downliners attended for support. So the event was a group effort.

Although none of the guests we had all invited showed up, there were over thirty people in attendance, mostly other Distributors. But most exciting to Dottie and Steve was the support by other members of the Leadership Team, who were equal, or higher, pin levels. And they all complimented the presenters for an excellent job.
Van and I were thrilled to be able to attend this special event, as it was our last one, before going on the road again. In an effort to become more professional, I had even managed to wear a blazer and slacks; though not black, and it seemed like a Graduation Ceremony for us all.

THE ENDING IS ONLY A BEGINNING

The Ending
Leaving my daughter and family is always a mixed blessing. It’s good to be on the road again, and to be enjoying our own lifestyle. Yet, I miss being close to her and the rest of my Colorado family and friends.
However, we were heading West to Oregon, and more family to enjoy, which is the advantage of living on wheels. And this time we would be taking our expertise to support my son, Marquam, in building his business.
So, as my daily reading for the day said, “What may have seemed like an ending was only a beginning.” And it continued, “God is guiding me to my right place. Wherever God guides me, I will follow.”

It’s amazing how the words are always written as if for my eyes only in these daily messages, and I paused to thank God for his myriad ways of showing us that He is with us, always. These words assured me that this was the right time and the right place for us to move onward. And they further stated that God guides me to new possibilities that I might never have recognized myself.

How true! As I always affirm: “God’s will, God’s way, Gods time; in Divine Order.”
On our way out of town, we stopped at our mail box center and I rushed next door to give some literature to Robin, while Van talked with Bill and gave him some literature on our products, as his wife’s “simple surgery” was causing her discomfort. Then I joined him and began chatting with Georgia about our products and business, suggesting that she read the material Van had given Bill. And, of course, we referred them all to Dottie for follow up.

A New Beginning
In keeping with the original title of this book, “Business can be Fun” our business ventures are intended to be fun, and stopping to visit our friend, Helena, in Loveland, Colorado, always makes my heart glad, and my inner child looks forward to a soothing massage from her favorite Massage Therapist.

This time Helena had moved to a new office and told me that the former location was not conducive to the necessary gentle vibrations for therapeutic massage, because the owner was an alcoholic; and she also smoked. But Helena was trying to make it work, until one day the lady flew into a wild rage and demanded that she move out.

Helena calmly followed her around, as the lady continued her paranoid tirade, saying; “Can’t we talk this over,” which only made her angrier.

The next day, when Helena came to keep her appointment to give a massage, the locks had been changed on her door. So, again, she calmly asked, “What am I going to tell my customer when he arrives for his massage?”
The lady said, “You can give this massage, but then I want you out!” So Helena complied by quickly removing everything, after the massage, and loading into her car, and her boy- friend’s station wagon.

Of course, a transition, such as this, was devastating to her business, and her income decreased by over a thousand dollars the first month. But Helena had been listening to some channeled tapes by an entity called Abraham, and decided to follow his advice for enhancing a money consciousness. Here’s how it works:
Keep a Daily Accounting in a notebook. The first day pay yourself $1,000.00, and each additional day pay yourself another $1,000.00. Then spend the money, listing it in your notebook. Here’s an example how Helena listed hers:

Day 1 Date: +$1,000.00
Date: -$1,000.00 paid toward credit card
Balance 0000
Day 2 Date: +$2,000.00
-$1,500.00 paid off credit card
Balance $ 500.00
Day 3 Date: +$ 3,000.00
-$ 1,000.00 Massage training
Balance: +$2,500.00

Helena enthusiastically announced, “I’ve paid all my bills, and done all my training; now I’m saving for my new home.” She explained that the Money Game took her mind off her debts, and got her thinking positive thoughts about money and the possibilities it would bring into her life.

I’m passing this idea along, because it’s definitely another fun business idea for increasing your income. I think your inner child can even get excited about this Money Game.

As I said earlier, Joanie (my inner child) loves visiting Helena, not only for the massage, but the good food; often vegetarian delights prepared by Helena with TLC, and her cooking is an internal soothing balm for my body.
However, Helena was working that evening at The Parsonage, a four star dinner house, and I’d arranged for us to have dinner there with Lou, because we were on a tight schedule, and they were leaving the next day for a Dance Party in the mountains.

We had enjoyed the gourmet dining at The Parsonage on other visits, and Joanie could hardly wait to indulge in her favorite meal of chicken breast with artichoke hearts and mushrooms in sherry sauce over rice. Van ordered pork medallions with a special cherry sauce over rice, and Lou, who is a Vegan (eats no meat, foul or dairy products) enjoyed his pasta with marinara sauce. The soup and salad, too, were gourmet, and the frozen peas were delicately seasoned with mint and herbs. Desserts are exotic, but we passed them by this time.

I’m sure it is already easy to see why Joanie delights in visiting Helena, but the best was yet to come: Helena’s cooking. We’d gone home to Freedom, parked in front of her adorable, tiny basement apartment, but it was nearly midnight when she arrived home. The next morning she told me that she had prepared the vegetables, after she got home, and then gotten up early to put them in a huge stainless steel baking pan to cook in the oven. When we arrived, at 8:30, Lou was adding the garnish: avocado and mango slices. Helena poured cranberry-cherry juice, and we sat down to another gourmet meal.

Business on the Road
After Lou left for work, Helena began getting ready to leave too, but I said, “Helena, I’m really concerned about Lou. His color is pale, and his energies are really low.” She had told me a about his kidney stone removal, and he discussed it briefly, during dinner. But he talked more about his grueling business trip to Mexico, south of Brownsville, and his inability to recover from tiredness. So I boldly said to Helena, “I really recommend that you give him some OPC-3. We have one small bottle with us, why don’t you take it, and send us a check when you can?”

She began rummaging through her purse, and asked, “How much is it?”

I told her the amount, and she handed me the cash, as she said, “You’re right, he doesn’t seem to be coming out of the surgery. I think it’s the anesthetic; it made him really sick.”

“Well, his body isn’t used to those chemicals, and he may be toxic, which is where OPC-3 comes in. It will cleanse the free radicals and get his energy back. Also, I really think you should both be taking B-12, which is essential for Vegetarians. You can order some from Dottie, until your catalogue comes.” She had signed up earlier for the Preferred Customer program, but it takes several weeks to get on the computer, once the new catalogues arrive.

In a swish, Helena was out the door and we were left to finish our breakfast, and then continue our westward journey.
In the meantime, I called Dottie and suggested that they use the Money Game technic with their Advanced Training Group to prepare them for additional income.

While we were talking, Steve arrived home and Dottie put them on Speaker Phone, so that he could excitedly share some good news about our downline in Colorado, which would mean increased income for us. He also suggested that we could buy a case of product and have it shipped to them, and they would sell it for us and Dottie would deposit the money in our joint business bank account. Van said we would confer with our finances to see if the idea was feasible.

I was delighted at his response, because it reassured me that he was not coming from his former obsessive-compulsive approach.
That night I suggested to Van that we pray for Guidance about whether or not to invest in more products, at this time. I fell asleep, before I heard any conclusive reply, so I asked Van what happened with his prayers. I suspect that Little Ralph was handling the matter, because he responded, “It’ll probably be okay.”
I snickered, and he grumbled, “That’s a laughable answer?”
“Well, not really; it’s just that I never heard God give an answer like that. They’re usually more positive or conclusive.”

Answered Prayers
I’m not sure whose prayers were being answered, and I certainly didn’t expect it to happen in Rock Springs, Wyoming. But God seemed to have a bigger picture in Mind than we did. All we wanted was to mail some literature and Preferred Customer Application forms to my niece and my brother. But we couldn’t locate a post office, until we came to Rock Springs, where we exited from the freeway and drove through town on the Business Loop, a route we usually avoid. But I wanted to get the items mailed, and we also needed to buy groceries.
As fate would have it, we passed Albertson’s Supermarket, before the post office, so we stopped. I asked the Customer Service gal where to find the post office, and she gave directions, but added, “I think they close at noon today, which is only 15 minutes.”
I looked disheartened, as I said, “I don’t think we can make it.”
She brightened, “Oh, there’s a Kopy Korner” a few doors away and they mail things.”

Once we finished shopping, and collected the mailings, we walked to the designated business and waited. And waited. A young mom, holding her infant son, was mailing a case of goat’s milk, which seemed to take a long time. During her conversation with the clerk, she mentioned that her son had terrible allergies and she was taking him to the Mayo Clinic for diagnosis and treatment. In fact, she would leave the next day, and was sending the milk 24-hour express to be there when they arrived.
While waiting for the transaction to be completed, I tried to keep my mouth shut, but the words seemed to force their way out, as I heard myself say, “So would you be interested in a product that would get rid of his allergies?”
She looked surprised, but without hesitation replied, “Yes!”
I explained about OPC-3, and she seemed interested, so I said, “I’m mailing this information out, but I have more in our RV, which is parked by Albertsons, if you want to meet us there.”
“Okay,” she replied, “but I have to get some things out of my car to copy. I’ll be right back.”
We completed our business, while another clerk helped her, and we walked out the door together chatting amicably, like long-lost friends. In my mind, I knew this was an appointment with destiny, and no doubt an answer to her prayers, as well as ours.
“This isn’t an MLM,” I added, but it’s a product brokerage business. You can actually make a lot of money with the business.”
“I could use that,” she said, “because I’m a single mom, and I can’t get a job, because I don’t have anyone to take care of my son.”
“Well, this could be an answer for you,” I said, and added, “I’ll tell you more about it,” as we parted. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”

She was waiting by our RV, when we arrived, and Van unlocked our door and left it open to help her feel safe; but she seemed at ease, and I directed Van to collect some of our brochures and information, while I called Dottie and introduced Sheila, “We have a young lady here, with her infant son, who has a terrible allergy. Do you have any information that would be helpful?”
“OPC-3 and Antioxidant,” she immediately replied.
“I knew OPC-3 would be good, but what amount would you give such a young child? I was thinking she could call the company doctor. Eventually we got the information together, and I also had Sheila talk with Dottie, as she would be working with her.
I asked if she would like to have Van explain the business plan, but Cody was getting restless, and she feared his allergies were hurting, so she wanted to take him home and apply a soothing salve. So, I took a picture of them, to remember this event, and they went on their way.

I prepared lunch, and we talked about the possibilities for Sheila through this business, as well as the healing aspect. She had mentioned that she had several gal friends in the same situation: single moms whose sons had these terrible allergies; and also that her grandmother, who helped with her finances, had diabetes, and she (Sheila) was hypoglycemic. Van and I talked about Steve (in Dottie’s downline), whose diabetes symptoms had lessened immensely from the products. If nothing else, she now had some answers, and some hope, no matter what happened at the Mayo Clinic. She had confided, “The airfare is being paid by a charitable organization.”
When discussing the cost of the products and business, she said that her grandmother could help with them; added to Sheila’s interest and enthusiasm, as well as her desperation to find help for her son, and a solution for her own life, I could see her becoming a “Go-now,” as they call the Distributors who quickly rise to the top financial status.

The “Shortcut”
But, sometimes the fork-in-the-road takes us to unexpected events. This one came as a result of Joanie’s determination to sidetrack 42-miles to Jackpot, NV. for a completion, because she had enjoyed Cactus Pete’s Casino on a previous trip. But we had attended the dinner show to see The Improv Comedy Club Road Show. The steak dinner was good, but we’d ordered well- done, which made them tough. Now, Joanie had her mind set for another meal; this time in the 4-star Canyon Cove Buffet.

Rather than I-84, I selected the old Highway 30, which would take us through the green farmlands. But first, we took a shortcut that I assumed would take us there. Within a short time, when we doubled back heading East, I realized that we were on the wrong road. However, I assumed that we would soon be able to cut across to Highway 30. Then I began to notice a familiar black substance in the fields, between us and the distant farms, which I recognized as the rim-rock at the top of the Snake River Gorge; and there was no way out, but down the narrow, winding road, across the bridge, and up the equally narrow road on the other side.

“I hope the bridge doesn’t have a sign indicating weight limitations,” I said to Van. About then I got a glimpse of the sturdy bridge and decided it would be safe.
Van replied, “Oh, it’s a good bridge; and this is a good road, too.”
Always the optimist, I took his word for it, and held tight, as we snaked our way to the bridge. “Now I know why they call it the “Snake River,” I muttered.
Coming out of the canyon, and around a few more farms, we soon arrived at a very small town, which did not bring us to Highway 30, but more of the same kind of farm road. I spotted two young moms with their brood out front of a pleasant looking home, and asked “How do we get to Highway 30? And which way to Highway 93?”
We were actually headed in the right direction, and within a few minutes we again headed West to retrace the nine miles we had gone astray. But we were far from our desired destination. We still had to go through Twin Falls, which I had attempted to avoid by taking the “short cut.”
I said, “Joanie, are you sure this is something we have to do?”
Adamantly, she replied, “I gave up going to the hot springs in Thermopolis, and Yellowstone Park, and I’m not going to give up Cactus Pete’s!”
I’ve learned not to try and dissuade Joanie when she’s being reasonable, because there’s always a price to pay, later, so we continued toward Highway 93 south.

Push on Through the Storm
Periodically I’m given the same experiential aide (which is more intense than a visual aide), but it’s always a test of faith: Trust the Lord. The lesson recently had been brought home when we escaped the Oklahoma tornadoes by a few days, though we did get a taste of a severe storm along I-40.

Nevertheless, I’d been eyeing the dark ominous clouds hovering over The Rockies, because I try to avoid threatening weather. So I rejoiced when driving through Idaho in 80+ weather, assuming we’d left The Rockies behind. Much to my surprise, when looking at the map, I discovered that we were still in The Rocky Mountain Range, as it angled up into Montana; but we were enjoying a large valley through Idaho.

However, as we headed south from Twin Falls, Idaho, another dark cloud hovered over the mountain range, on the fringe of the Nevada desert. And the nearer we got, the darker it appeared. But with Joanie’s insistence, we forged ahead; and happily discovered that the clouds remained further south. When we got out of Freedom, we realized that a strong wind from the north was keeping them at bay.

While walking from the free parking lot for trucks and RV’s, we noticed that the area where we had parked free last time had been completed and was now for self-park RV hookups, but only charged $14.00. Nevertheless, we were on a tight budget, and Joanie chose to spend the money on a buffet, as she hurriedly passed the man-made Jackpot National Forest, consisting of numerous kinds of trees; a cool respite from the desert heat. But she rushed on past, and entered the casino, noticing the billboard announcement that the Kingston Trio was the featured entertainment. “No, not this time,” she announced, adding, “I’m going to the buffet.

We hurried to wait a half-hour in the line, behind the antics of three active Mexican toddlers, while drooling over the life-size pictures of the four menu themes: American, Chinese, Italian and Mexican. Once inside, we tried to use discretion in selecting from the tasteful array of tempting food: prime rib (my choice), crab legs, shrimp, oysters on the half-shell and the best of International Cuisine prepared with a gourmet touch. And the desserts made the Las Vegas buffets shrink in comparison, however I settled for a chocolate eclair, with minimum chocolate (to avoid a migraine the next day) and a taste of Van’s caramelized walnuts in an edible dark chocolate shell.

As we walked back through the casino, we agreed that this meal was worth the extra miles. And Joanie felt a sense of completion, for she had thought she would never see Jackpot, Nevada, again. And here she was. However, the loud musical entertainment in the casino did not appeal to us, so we sauntered outside and ambled across the parking lot, only to shudder with alarm, as a bright flash of lightning streaked across the sky, though still in the distance.
Van studied the dark cloud formations and said, “The wind is keeping the storm to the south. I don’t think we need to worry.”
Another streak of lightning crossed the sky, and I wasn’t too sure; but we decided to take a walk, anyway, to settle our full stomachs. Strolling in a northerly direction, I noticed the wind blowing against the back of my legs, and mumbled, “Oh Oh! The wind has shifted.” We turned to survey the clouds, but they seemed okay, so we continued our evening walk, and returned through Jackpot National Forest.
When we returned to Freedom, a neighbor RVer (with an Oregon license plate) stood by his camper, and I said, “Do you think it’s going to storm?”
He looked toward the south, and said, “Nah. It might crack a little, but nothing serious.”
As we chatted, he said he was from LaGrande, Oregon, which is in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, and I began to question his criteria for a bad storm, so I asked “Did you have much snow last winter?”
“Nah, it was a light winter.”
But, on the other hand, he also felt that the highway through the winding hills and over the Blue Mountain Pass was great too; and I had planned our trip to avoid that stretch of road. As his wife emerged from their camper, and they headed to the casino, I cast a wary eye toward the south in time for another flash of lightning, and retired to Freedom.
We seemed to be in a pocket that did not receive TV, or the cellular phone, so Van got busy on the computer and completed the tags he’d designed for our Market America hierarchy, and I relaxed and visited with God about the situation; mostly I listened, as I remembered God’s promise to guide and protect us through the storms, as well as the sunshine.
After awhile, I got up to close the back curtains that face south, and to my amazement the clouds had cleared and only light bluish clouds with tints of golden orange floated in the sky behind us. I quickly moved to the front of Freedom and looked out the front windows: golden clouds in a blue sky. The storm is over.
I felt as if I’d experienced another miracle; and I knew that God had given me a Message as clear as if a loud voice had boomed through the ethers: FEAR NOT. I AM WITH YOU, ALWAYS.

And, somehow I knew that an internal storm had passed too, though I had no idea how it would manifest. However, the next morning when the Oregon neighbor emerged from his camper, as we returned from filming Jackpot National Forest, I felt an inner confidence. Earlier, I had thought maybe I should speak to someone about our business or products, but I have an agreement with myself that I only speak, as God guides; not from desperation to meet a daily goal, or otherwise push myself forward.

I had not felt urged to discuss the business, but seeing them studying Freedom, I boldly approached, thinking perhaps they were looking at the business signs, and I was ready to move from Joanie’s funtime to Joanna’s business mode. However, they were admiring our motor home, and we talked about Freedom’s virtues.
Yet, I knew that this too, was an important conversation, as I felt relaxed and confident; and so did Van; an assurance that we would be ready to move forward, as God guides.

A Thousand Springs
Once again heading West, on Highway 30, toward Boise, Idaho, I remembered that we had been along here before, after our first trip to Jackpot. We’d passed Thousand Springs, where the picturesque waterfalls gush from the rimrocks (from underground springs fed by the winter snow melt-off and rains) and down the side of the canyon. And then, at the Rest Stop, I fixed lunch, from the tough steak leftovers, by cutting thin slices and making a delicious Philly sandwich — my first effort at this deli delight.

It so happened that I, again, had the makings for a Philly sandwich, and it was nearing noon, so we stopped. This time the sun was shining, but I recalled that we had walked under the umbrella shelter formed by the trees along the lagoon, and Joanie had loved the cacophony sounds of birds in the reeds and overhead trees. The yellow-breasted birds with black bodies and white streaked wings (when in flight) whistled, cawed, or chortled; and the ducks quacked, as the bullfrogs added an occasional toot-like moo.

Before lunch, armed with my camcorder, we walked along the path recording the sights and sounds that had endeared themselves to Joanie. On cue, they all performed; even the muskrat silently glided through the water, and the ducks flapped and quacked. It was a grand circus of entertainment. And later, while eating our Philly sandwich at the picnic table, the yellow-breasted blackbird strutted on the lawn pecking at seeds. I grabbed the camcorder for a close-up, but the bird was lost in the shadows. However, I filmed a traveler, who had arrived earlier, spread out his blanket and took a nap; and then I walked back to the lagoon and captured, on film, another yellow-breasted blackbird whistling from his perch on a reed.
Obeying the sign, “One Hour Parking,” we returned to Freedom and continued on our journey.

“Our People Make the Difference”
We discovered that the above slogan, referring to Wal-Mart employees, applies, even after working hours. It all started when, despite the late hour, we decided to push on through to Redmond, Oregon, where my daughter, Gail, lives.
We had begun the day on the Wal-Mart parking lot in Ontario, Oregon, on the eastern border. Then we spent the afternoon with former RVer neighbors, Chuck and Alma Lee, (we’d met during our winter at Laughlin, NV. the year before), who live in nearby Nyssa. The day had passed pleasantly, sitting under their covered patio, with a breeze to cool the high-eighties temperature. And they had treated us to lunch at Charlotte’s Web, a unique deli-type eatery, with indoor umbrella tables and a boutique. We’d chatted about RV adventures, and our families, and I briefly mentioned our business and described some of our products. When we left, I offered them a catalogue, but they said they wouldn’t be interested in mail orders. We appreciated their honesty, and left with a good feeling about good people. After all, this visit was not about our business, but rather reconnecting with fellow travelers.

We debated whether to attempt the long trip, across desert and mountains, as it was already 5:00 p.m., and we opted to move forward. I’d relaxed on our couch, as the afternoon sun played hide-and-seek across my face, while Van drove along the winding highway.
Anticipating the next part of our Oregon visit, I had affirmed “Divine Order, Timing, Harmony and Balance” for the four-hour trek, wondering if I’d be able to make connections with by brother, Gary, who was visiting another brother, Larry, in Bend. Gary is not too inclined to go out of his way for our visits, though we have driven hundreds of miles to his outposts on mountain-high lookouts. I know he isn’t rejecting me, it’s just the way he is, and I have to understand and accept it, though it triggers my rejection syndrome.

In fact, being back in Oregon brings these abandonment emotions to the surface, because I know that I will attempt to see my mother, Valena, at the convalescent home in Portland; and sometimes she’s in a good space and we have a pleasant time, but when she’s having her schizophrenic episodes she won’t even talk to me.
A similar phenomenon occurs with my daughter, Gail. Our last visit with her, in Redmond, went great; but I never know. And when I wrote her a letter explaining my feelings about these “come here, go away” cycles, she got offended and chose to distance from me for several years. But, again, that’s how she is, and I can let it tear me apart, or get on with my life; thus my affirmations for Divine Order and Harmony.
I’d spent several hours trying to decide whether to call her along the way, but the cell phone reception was intermittent. On the other hand, if I waited until morning, she might be off doing other things; so when I got a signal for good reception, I chanced a late evening call. She’d been sound asleep and suggested that we have our visit another time, mumbling something about an intensive HUD (Housing Development) inspection that had wiped her out; during the preparation time of cleaning and moving out boxes to her storage, and while it went on — the day before. Now, she was zonked, and just wanted to be left alone. However, I managed to convey that we would be in the area awhile, and she agreed that I could call at 10:00 a.m. the next day. I wondered if I should have just gone on through town, and not called; but she would probably have felt hurt that I had neglected her. So, it became a Catch-22, and I prayed that she would be okay the next morning.

Probably, we should have stayed at the Wal-Mart in Bend, but the intersection from Highway 20 came into town past the store, so we decided to drive through town and thirteen miles north to Redmond, which would be near Gary and Gail.
Driving through the darkness, Van had been distracted by a car at the roadside, so followed another car into the inside lane. Suddenly there was an object on the highway, in our lane, and it was too late to switch, because of a truck approaching in the outside lane. We drove over the dead deer, with a terrible bump and crunch, and Freedom began making strange noises, indicating that something was wrong. But we were in traffic, and couldn’t stop, so, after the truck went by, Van pulled into the outside lane and slowed down, while trying to determine whether we could continue. Yet, there was no room to stop, so he kept driving.
I was still in shock, and kept asking, “Why did the other cars in that lane keep right on going, with no damage, and we are incapacitated? Van didn’t have an answer, and his mind was on keeping Freedom alive.
After a noisy, grueling five more miles, we exited toward Wal-Mart, stopped at the sign, cringed at the strange sound, and creeped up the hill, turned into the entrance, and heard a loud sound of scraping metal. Van slammed on the brakes, put on his emergency lights, and got out to survey the damage.
Several cars leaving Wal-Mart, slowed down, and carefully eased around us; and then a gal asked Van, “Are you all right? Do you need any help?”
“No, I think I’m okay,” Van replied, and she drove on.

Soon a car stopped ahead of us, allowing its lights to shine where Van was stooped, so he could survey the damage. Then another car pulled beside that one and waited; and another one stopped and waited too. They could have driven by, but they didn’t. Finally, the front car pulled over to the side, and the gentleman came over to help Van. He also directed the second car (behind him) to go up the road and blink her lights to warn the traffic coming over the hill, as we were still partially in the street.
In the meantime, the first gal had gotten out of her car to see what she could do to help. They discovered that the tail pipe had been knocked loose and wedged between the rear tires, so she rushed back to her car and returned with a stick. Would this driftwood help to pry it loose?” Van rolled the RV back, and they attempted to remove the tailpipe from the tire, but to no avail. Finally, they loosened it, but needed something to tie the pipe in place. I found our bungie cord, at the same time the gal triumphantly held up an old belt and asked, “Will this work?” Van selected the bungie cord, and eventually they got it secured; no longer wedged in the tire, but still dragging along the pavement. Once done, the fellow told Van the name of a nearby muffler shop, and we thanked everyone. They mentioned that they had just gotten off work from Wal-Mart, and I said, “You really live up to your slogan, “Our people make the difference,” and thanked them again.

As Van drove forward, the partially dragging tailpipe clanked along the pavement, and I dreaded to think of the disturbance for the people trying to sleep in the Super 8 Motel, and in the parked trucks and RV’s. Once we made it to the parking lot, we stopped at the first spot, and went to bed.
I still didn’t understand the reason that we were put into this plight, and the other vehicles sped on, but as I thought about these nameless (to us) people, who had stopped in the night to help strangers, it gave me a warm, comforting feeling, and I assumed that maybe God gave us this experience to remind us that there are good, caring, selfless people in the world, whether or not they are family. So, I allowed them to give us that additional blessing; and I went to sleep saying “Thank you, and God bless them.”
The next morning, Van rearranged the tailpipe so it wouldn’t drag on our way to the muffler shop. And before leaving the Wal-Mart parking lot, we went inside and asked to speak to the manager. When Kurt arrived, prepared for yet, another grievance, we radiated with thankfulness and appreciation for the Wal-Mart people who “made a difference” in our lives. Though we didn’t know their names, we wanted to say “Thank you.”
Kurt beamed as we unraveled our story, and he assured us that he would make an announcement of this Good Report, and acknowledge them for their actions, adding, “We always hear the complaints, and we appreciate you taking the time to let us know these positive reports.”

“Come Here; Go Away”
Our spirits were lifted, as we completed our shopping and returned to Freedom. Now it was time to call Gail, and I didn’t know whether we would be invited to stop by, or again, as last night, told to “Visit some other time.”
Between my mother and Gail, these see-saw mood swings had left a permanent impression, and I’d learned to make alternate plans, but my inner child felt the impact of their rejections, and I had attempted to communicate to them on the subject. For instance, I had once written a letter to Gail explaining my feelings, but she took the letter as a slam, and refused to talk to me for several years.

However, our last visit with her, six months ago, had gone well, and she had sent several pleasant notes. But I hadn’t heard her reactions to my recent letter describing her grandson and my great-grandson Brandon’s current attitude, and my concern about her daughter’s desire to have them both visit her in Florida, with the possibility of Gail moving there. I’d reminded her of Christina’s mood swings, and suggested that she pray about the disruption of leaving her peaceful sanctuary in Redmond.
When I called, Gail asked, “Did you call last night?”
I replied, “Yes,”
She said, “I took a sleeping pill last night, and this morning I faintly remembered your call, but I thought maybe it was a dream. What did I say?”
I laughed, as I said, “Maybe you could visit some other time.”
Then she explained, “Well, I’ve been stressed and exhausted preparing and cleaning for this HUD inspection. And they just came on Monday, so I simply had to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, I’m still exhausted, and I need to spend the day resting on the couch.”

I explained that we would be going to the muffler shop to have Freedom’s tailpipe repaired, and she offered to come pick me up, and added that it would be okay to park in front of her apartment, but that she needed to rest.
This seemed like a reasonable arrangement, and Van headed down the freeway to find the Good Guys Muffler Shop, as recommended by one of our good Samaritans from the previous night. But there was no such shop, so Van decided to go into Creative Exhaust. Much to our relief, he learned that this owner had bought out the former one, and it was the same shop. Arrangements were made for the extensive repairs, and the cost was only $70.00. After the $500.00 we’d spent on Freedom in Colorado, we would have gone into debt with any exorbitant expense.

I called Gail, and she came to get me and return to her apartment. While she rested, we watched a video, “Fly Away Home,” about a young girl who finds some abandoned goose eggs, rescues and nurtures them, and becomes a substitute parent to the goslings, as they grow into full-fledged geese. In the meantime, she learns that they won’t migrate, without their mother goose, because she gives them the proper imprints for their development. Ultimately the girl’s father builds a crude substitute flying goose, and the father and daughter, as surrogate moms, lead the flock south.
Somehow, it seemed like an appropriate movie for us to view together, considering the strange on-again; off-again relationship between Gail and me. Yet, I realize that it’s the disease that causes her behavior; and mine too, for that matter.
For instance, during our visit, she was into the down side of her manic-depression, due to a number of traumatic events (for her), and she can’t deal with more input, so she spent the day on her couch, and couldn’t cope with our visit.
It’s a reasonable enough request, however, the “go away” message reminds me of the various times I tried to visit my natural mom, and was turned away for one reason, or another, after traveling from Oregon to California, hoping to see her. But, that’s the way it is with mental illness, and I have to accept it; though Joanie has trouble with what seems to her like rejection. I’m trying to find another way to look at it, such as another concept or perception.

When talking with Dottie, on the cell phone, I said “It seems that, after all the therapy, recovery programs, and inner child work, I would be beyond this; but it seems to be just as threatening as ever. And it interferes with my moving forward with the business, so I’ve got to get through it.”
Dottie listened attentively, and then said, “Well, maybe it’s like all your life you’d thought a certain color was red; and then one day someone said, “It’s blue.” But in your reality, it’s still red, and no matter how many teachers, workshops, therapists, or others told you differently, it wouldn’t become real, until something in your mind could accept the different concept. So, you need to find something to grasp that whatever Gail is doing doesn’t really have anything to do with you.”
“I know,” I sighed, “I’ve tried to remind Joanie that whatever she’s holding onto was then, with her mom, and this is now; it’s Gail adjusting to her mental illness, as best she can. In fact, I think it helped Joanie when Gail explained that she has to allow herself to experience her downs, or she would force herself into the manic part of the syndrome.”
Dottie added, “At least, it’s good that she understands, and is able to communicate her needs.”
“Yeah, I guess it’s better than some of her actions, in the past, such as drinking and drugs to self-medicate; or anger, or suicidal tendencies. Of course, there were the myriad runs to the hospital for attention and medication, too. And she’s now able to make wiser choices in dealing with her problems. And, as she says, at least her mental illness did not manifest in behavior that caused her to go to prison; and she’s still alive and functioning; quite well, as a matter of fact.”
“Did she get her apartment ready for the HUD inspection?” Dottie asked.
“Yep, that’s why she’s so done in, now, both physically and emotionally. She said she felt like she’d been raped, having them invade her home and snoop into every nook and cranny; even wipe the tops of door frames for dust, and inspect her oven and cupboards. Personally, I couldn’t have survived the ordeal myself.”
Dottie agreed, adding, “It’s the having to get ready under pressure, and then like having a test to see if you did it right.”
“Yeah, like Van and I having that test, after all our training, and then not passing. I’m just not into that phase of life, now. But Gail survived, and so did we, even though we have to take the training, again, next week in Portland.” I added, “I can relate with not being able to have too much input, or stimulation, and wanting to close it out, like the trainings; and when I was younger and raising kids, we didn’t know about these things, and I never had the option, so I did it anyway. No wonder Gail had so many setbacks, when raising her kids. As she says, her neuro-transmitters went into overload. It was just too much for her, and the manic-depression was kind of a survival mechanism.”
Dottie added, “I guess we all have our various survival mechanisms, like illness and tiredness; maybe that’s the subconscious cause of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia for example.”
“Makes sense to me,” I concluded.

Joanie and Little Ralph Take a Break
The conversation with Dottie had helped Joanie understand the situation more clearly, but she still felt traumatized. And Little Ralph was exhausted from his deer and muffler repair ordeal. So we took Gail’s suggestion and drove to a local State Park at Smith Rocks: gigantic, colorful rock formations. However, we were taken aback to discover that RV’s weren’t welcome at the first Day Use Entrance, and by the time we’d turned around and driven to the second Entrance, we’d lost interest. Besides, we weren’t in a mood to hike along the river, nor to climb the face of the rock, so we left.

Then we drove to Ogden Wayside, a Rest Area along the Crooked River Canyon, and peered over the rim to the winding river far below. I took some camcorder shots, and also captured the new bridge being built; a long-overdue project to relieve the trauma of crossing this high, wide canyon on the old narrow bridge, built long before RV’s and semi- trucks used the route.

We relaxed and ate some ice cream, and finally returned to Gail’s. By this time she was feeling somewhat rested, so got up and prepared some chicken burgers to go with the leftover macaroni salad she’d made for our dinner the day before. As always, her cooking was delicious, and we truly appreciated her efforts, especially since she had announced that she wouldn’t be serving meals. Yet, food is part of our family love concept, and I gladly accepted this gesture of love. In addition, she gave me an “early birthday gift”: a T-shirt with satin butterflies, and a lovely card, also with butterflies.

The card said, “Mother, We’re Thinking of You,” and she explained, “I got this for you, before Chuck and I broke up, and I didn’t think it would work to give to you, but I decided that you could consider that it’s from all parts of myself, like inner child, and Higher Power, etc.”

“I really like that idea, and it’s such a special card. I’m sure glad you decided to give it to me, along with the T-shirt. You know how I love butterflies.” Joanie relinquished her place to my adult parent role, and I gave Gail a big hug.” The rest of the evening was spent watching a Clint Eastwood movie, before we went to Freedom.
Gail had been contemplating whether or not she would go to the Rainbow House, where she enjoys support with other’s suffering from emotional problems. “If I go, I’ll leave a note on your door, because I’ll leave early,” she concluded.

“Okay, we’ll probably leave around ten o’ clock,” I said, referring to our decision to spend the Memorial Weekend at Indian Ford National Park in the nearby mountains, thus giving us all time to rest and recuperate.
But when we got up, there was no note, so I walked around to her back door, and her car was still there, but her door was locked. I returned to her front window, where the shade had been drawn earlier, and she wasn’t on the couch. Now, I was confused: was she taking a bath, or had she gone back to bed? Did she want to see us, or not?”
I returned to Freedom and asked Van, “Do you think we should wait, until ten, and see if she’s expecting to see us, or what?”
“I don’t know,” he replied.
“Well, I don’t either; that’s the problem. Now, I’m confused, and feeling like a child with mixed messages. I feel immobilized, not to mention traumatized.”

I decided to leave a note at her back door, and then we drove away, with never an appearance of Gail. “I just wished it could have been a smoother departure,” I grumbled, as I took out my frustration on working a crossword puzzle, while Van drove us down the highway.
We stopped at a supermarket for several items to sustain us over the weekend, before our Social Security check replenished our account. And Van took time to make a phone call on the public telephone.
Since the reception seemed good on the cell phone, I tried several calls, but no one was home, so I tried once more to call our friend and an OPC-3 customer, Bob Davey.
“I was just getting into my Jeep to do errands,” he said, “Glad you caught me.”
I’d been trying to reach him for over a month, so rejoiced at the connection. After a pleasant visit, I asked, “Are you ready to sign up as a Preferred Customer?”
“Well, as a matter of fact, I am out of OPC-3, and I’m feeling the difference. I think that would be a good route to go, now. But could you send me another Application Form; I don’t seem to have one.”
“Sure,” I replied, and then added, “but it takes awhile to get them setup at Headquarters. How about Dottie sending you this order, along with the Application Card, and then you can get it sent in right away?”
“Sounds good.”
I felt delighted that something was finally going smoothly, and I left Dottie a message to call me to give her the order.

In the meantime, we took the cutoff to Sisters, a tourist town in view of the Three Sisters Mountains, and enjoyed the panoramic splendor of their snow-covered peaks, along with Broken Top, Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson, all part of the Cascade Range, along with Mt. Hood, somewhat northeast.

Soon we joined Highway 20, and passed through the quaint town of Sisters, with the mountains in the distance, visible through the pine trees, as the tourists were already wandering along the sidewalks that we had taken to the restaurant where we’d savored a delicious hamburger on our last trip. Another five miles and we turned into Indian Ford campground. Though we had been concerned about the possibility of no vacancies, we were relieved and delighted to notice only one RV in our favorite section of the park — across the bridge over Indian Creek — and we happily drove into Site 10, the last in the row, surrounded by tall pine trees, and close to the hidden creek, with shimmering aspen lining the banks.

Once settled, we munched some macaroni salad, sent along by Gail, and then went for a walk through the pine forest, and returned along the creek. Joanie and Little Ralph, like any kids, were relaxed and carefree, as they spotted spring flowers and listened to the twittering birds.

Later in the evening, Little Ralph gathered some wood and pine needles, and built a fire in the protective ring. Joanie tossed in pine cones and they both stirred the embers to keep the fire going longer. A neighbor, Don, in the fifth-wheeler, came over to chat, but Joanie kept gathering pine cones and tossing them into the fire, as Little Ralph kept stirring.

Don is a square-dance caller, which brought to mind another era in my life, when I lived in Portland, and square-danced, with my first husband, Randal. We talked about the good meals served, and I asked if he knew Bill Striplin, our caller. He didn’t; after all, it had been over thirty years ago.
But Don also works in the State Prison, so we found a basis of common interest, until I mentioned being a minister. Perhaps the drink in his hand caused a trifle embarrassment, or else he needed a refill. In any event, he soon left, and Joanie and Little Ralph continued their fun.
But soon the evening turned chilly and we went inside Freedom and watched TV, my idea of roughing it, while other campers arrived, parked their vehicles, or pitched their tents, and built their campfires.

A Reality Shift
Sunday morning, I awoke feeling sad that this was the last full day of our Memorial weekend holiday; but I opened my eyes to the sun beaming through the open curtains and the pine trees towering above our mobile home in the woods, and I reminded myself to live fully in the Present Moment, and it would be a full and enjoyable day.

However, I decided to savor these first moments by remaining in my warm bed; unlike the bundled campers standing around their morning campfires. I enjoyed these quiet morning hours, while Van continued sleeping, because I could meditate, sort things out, or listen to the inspiration for my writing. This morning my thoughts returned to Dottie’s analogy of being told that red is blue, when we were discussing my efforts to grab hold of the imminent reality shift I was anticipating; based on the intensity of the issues I was facing, while at Gail’s. I knew she was just being Gail, but how I reacted was my responsibility (ability to respond).

I sorted through possible subtitles: “What’s in it For Me vs. What Can I do For You?” reflected the issue of ego’s self-centered position, rather than the altruistic approach. And I suspected this was part of the picture, but not all of it. Which reminded me of an illustration used in our business training: take your focus off the black dot and look at the whole picture. This realization felt close to the reality shift, and I began to pursue the possibilities. The limited black dot representing, in this case, “What’s in it for me?” The overall picture encompasses the agape, caring for others: “What Can I do For You?”

Yet, I suspected that another black dot would be the wounded inner child, with protective arms around herself, saying, “Don’t hurt me,” which presents a formidable barrier to reaching out or reaching in. On the other hand, the Wonder Child, as author, John Bradshaw, calls the healed, recovered inner child, would project the more universal, altruistic message: “What Can I do For You?”

In my musings, I wondered where altruism ends and codependency begins, and I contemplated Dottie’s example of red being termed blue; perhaps it’s simply a matter of terminology, or beliefs, or attitude. Ultimately, I think the actions are a matter of the heart, and must be followed accordingly.

In any event, the differences in these attitudes definitely would affect our business. One sends out a message: “stay away, don’t bother me,” which would repel prospective customers that could benefit from our products or business. And the other says, “I’m here to offer products and services, if you choose to avail yourself of them. Otherwise, it’s okay. You live your life, and I’ll live mine, as God guides.

So, my conclusion, from this sorting-out process indicated that when the inner child healing process is completed, the transition will occur; like the growing up process from one stage to another. It just happens; no one has to do anything to force its evolution. And I assumed I was in the final phase of this particular reality shift; like the last 1/4 inch inside a long, dark tunnel. It still seems as if the end will never come; but we’re almost ready to break forth into the light. Patience and keeping on, with eyes focused on the overall picture, will see us through to the other side.

In some ways, this transition can be compared to the birth process; after all, it is another ending and a new beginning, and we must be willing to let go of the old position and outlook in order for the birth of the new. In other words, it is the death of a former reality, and the birth of a new viewpoint. As the bible says, “Forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13).

Sometime, during the night, I awoke with a visualization of arms outstretched, and I remembered, another time, being given this symbol to represent the Reality Shift from being closed and protective to open and ready to embrace. But, now I was at another level of transition, and this remembrance was exactly what I needed to move upward in love. It’s not about “Don’t hurt me,” but “I love you.”

As I contemplated this new reality, I remembered the first day I met Van, while having lunch with a mutual friend. We were talking about relationships, and being willing to take a chance with someone. Van said, “Yes, there is the risk, but there is also the blessing that would be missed, if one were unwilling to take the risk.”

An Appropriate Ending

Memorial Weekend seems a fitting conclusion to this chapter of endings and beginnings. It’s a time to lovingly remember those who have died, allow ourselves to briefly feel the normal sense of loss, and then to move on, as the Bible verse says.

While writing the above words, the cellular phone rang, and it was Cousin John, who had left Rapid City, SD., about the time we left Colorado, and was calling from Portland, Oregon — only a few hours away. He had stopped at the Riverview Abbey, where many of our family members, including Dad Freeland, were interred, to pay his respects and add flowers to the Perpetual Care arrangements, a yearly ritual for him.

We had discussed the possibility of meeting in Eugene, as he headed south to California, but Van had made an appointment in Redmond to have further muffler work. I felt a sense of loss to miss seeing Cousin John, but I realized that he was moving forward with his life, and I concluded that I must do the same.

In retrospect, it seems that the possible rendezvous represented the desire to reach back to the past and hold on, rather than moving forward to fulfilling our plans. Although it was difficult to let go of Cousin John, and resist the urge to dash over the McKenzie Pass, an arduous trek, I felt a sense of release; as if I’d passed some sort of life test. Or maybe it was about death, and letting go of the past, while moving forward to the future.

Later in the evening, after our walk in the woods and fire-building, I settled down to watch the annual coverage of Memorial Day on the White House Lawn. I always enjoy the usual patriotic songs and speeches, but this year included some special events: Rita Moreno sang and danced to In the Mood, Glenn Miller’s classic swing number, and two songs from South Pacific, plus a rousing rendition of a 40’s hit Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy; all of which brought back nostalgia of my youth.

But, for some reason, war is being glorified these days, with movies such as Saving Private Ryan, and this TV program added some intense scenes from the World War II kamikaze attack on our aircraft carrier Ben Franklin, including the words of a chaplain describing the gruesome details. The good news being that he, and the ship, and many of the crew survived; but the downside is that 750 young men died. But they were well remembered in this program, as a group of WWII Veterans watched in grim remembrance of their wartime days of glory. They were further honored, in a special tribute to each of the armed forces, as their respective anthems were played, and the members of the audience were asked to stand, as their branch of the military service was called.

In addition, scenes of the Vietnam Wall, in Washington DC, were shown, with grown men and women, and even children, crying unabashedly, as they found the names of loved ones or buddies, and lovingly placed mementos, flowers, pictures, or letters at the bottom, while someone sang, The Vietnam Wall, a poignant and descriptive song. Then three letters, which had been left at The Wall, were individually read by three different men, each giving a unique interpretation to the letter he read; a most moving presentation.

And the impressive Grand Finale had everyone stand and sing God Bless America and America the Beautiful. I truly felt I had experienced a meaningful Memorial Day Commemoration, and an appropriate ending to this chapter, as I looked forward to another new beginning.

Chapter 8
A MATTER 0F TIME

Time Game
Everything seemed so speeded up, when we were in Colorado; and everyone seemed so busy. In fact, most everyone, every place, seems accelerated these days. Perhaps it has to with the new millennium. In any event, Van and I are attempting to keep a balance with our time. As the bible says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

So, we take time to work, and time to play, such as our three days at Indian Ford campground. While leisurely walking there, one day, I said to Van, “I wonder if Dottie and Steve are taking these two days off to go into the mountains and enjoy an outing with their new camper?”He replied, “Do you think so?”
“I doubt it,” I responded, then added, “they don’t seem to have time.” Remembering a recent brief conversation with Steve, I said, “You recall that Steve’s passion was having time?” Van nodded, so I continued, “Well, one day I said to him, ‘You know, Steve, maybe you need to set aside for yourself some blocks of time for favorite things; like we do with building a money consciousness. You know, time, like money, is a consciousness thing, and we have to learn to spend both appropriately, or they become elusive.’ He loudly denounced my idea, but the truth is that he simply didn’t get that he’s working with universal laws.”

We continued walking under the gently swaying pines, and I mused, “Maybe it would be good for people with a shortness of time commodity to do a process like the Money Game, giving themselves one more hour of time each day, and then allotting it for whatever they have felt they didn’t have time for. Like the Money Game, time would accumulate quickly, and soon there would be an excess of time. It wouldn’t take long to build a consciousness of abundant time.”

Van agreed, it was a good idea, so here’s how it goes:
TIME GAME
DAY 1: ONE HOUR
SPENT: RESTING
DAY 2: TWO HOURS
SPENT: SHOPPING
DAY 3: THREE HOURS
SPENT: READING
DAY 4: FOUR HOURS
SPENT: PROJECTS
DAY 5: FIVE HOURS
SPENT: WITH KIDS/FAMILY
Of course, in time you’d have extra time, so you would need a line reading: Balance, in which you list unused time. Or you may decide to divide your time between several different choices, such as “2 hours reading and 1 hour soaking in hot tub, or bubble bath.” You can be very creative with this process. Enjoy!

A Different Kind of Memorial Day

I could hardly wait to share my Time Game idea with Dottie, so I called on Monday morning, and was surprised when she answered.
“I thought you and Steve would be in the mountains with your new camper.”
She laughed, “For one thing, Steve has to work.”
“On Memorial Day?”
“You know how it is with salesmen. They have to be available for the people who didn’t leave town and want to shop or just look.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s right, so what did you do yesterday?”
“Well, here’s what we had planned: We rotisserie two chickens, and prepared mashed potatoes and gravy and a salad. Then, Arianna and Jason, and his friend came over for dinner. And afterward, Steve presented the Business Plan.” Her voice sounded excited, as she added, “He’s going to sign up, so they will be activated!”

“Congratulations,” I exclaimed. “I guess that’s a good way to spend Memorial Day Sunday.”
“Well, that’s not all; afterward we watched the video, Saving Private Ryan. I know you don’t want to see it, but it was really as good movie.”

“The thing is, I was there for the news reports of the original, and I didn’t like it then, either.” I then told her about watching the Memorial Day at the White House.

“I saw a glimpse of it on the news report,” she said, and then continued with her story, “It so happens that our friends, Steve and Cindy rented the video, and so did TC and Debbie; and none of us knew the others were watching it. Isn’t that a coincidence?”

I agreed, and listened, as she added more good news, “TC and Debbie gave their friends in Kiawa a presentation, and they are going to sign up in two weeks!”

“All right,” I cheered, “That was a very productive weekend for your business.” I managed to explain my idea for the Time Game, and she agreed to share it with Steve.
“Which reminds me,” she interrupted, “I had a message from Marquam to call him at 10:30, and it’s that time now, so I’d better go.”

“A Time for Silence”
I’d attempted to call Gail several times over the weekend, but she didn’t answer. Finally, on Monday, her line was busy, but when I called again, within a short time, there was no answer.
“Okay,” I said to myself, “This is the time to practice holding my arms wide open in preparation for an embrace, and to look at things from a different perspective. Just because she has intentionally avoided me, in the past, when she knew I was coming to visit, or going to call, doesn’t mean that’s happening this time. Perhaps she needs more quiet time.”

I had called to ask if she wanted to join us for a hamburger, and left a message to that effect, adding that we would probably stop for one in Sisters, since I hadn’t made the connection to arrange the plans.

But, what I really had thought would be fun, was for her to meet us here and enjoy the campsite for a few hours, and then have a hamburger at our favorite place in Sisters. We would even pay for her gas. So, I called again, but still no answer, so I left the message, hoping she would pick up the phone, but she didn’t.

By this time, everyone in the campground had left, and the weather had taken a turn for the worse, as the skies clouded and the wind began blowing. But, I wanted to gather some pine-cones and moss for Gail, and then update my chapter, before we left.

Soon it was checkout time, and we slowly rolled through the empty spaces, where happy voices and children’s shouts of joy had filled the airwaves. Now, only silence, and the blowing wind through the pine trees, greeted our ears. We said “Goodbye” to our mountain paradise, and turned toward the highway.

And a Time for Speaking
“Why is the westbound traffic barely moving?” Van wondered aloud, as it came into view. Campers, cars pulling trailers or boats, and some with their camping gear inside, or without (for those with other overnight facilities, or on a day trip), and even trucks were lined up bumper-to-bumper.

“No wonder our neighbors left early,” I said, and Van carefully edged between the inching vehicles.

Heading in the opposite direction, toward the miles of traffic snaking along the winding mountain road, I concluded, “It’s a good thing we decided not to go over the Santiam Pass to meet Cousin John. I had no idea the holiday traffic would be this bad. I guess it’s the mountain roads.”

Within a few minutes, we arrived at The Gallery Restaurant, in Sisters, and waited in line for a seat in order to indulge in their delicious 1/4 lb. hamburger, that obviously was no secret to the hungry tourists and campers.

Standing on the street, afterward, waiting to take a camcorder of the quaint shops, a lady asked, “Did you come over the Summit?”
“No,” we’re going the other way,” I said, “Why do you ask?”
“We’re going back home, but we heard there was a terrible accident this morning, near Gates, by the Detroit Dam, and traffic has been backed-up all day. I just wondered if you knew any more about it.”
“Well, that answered that question,” I said to Van, as the lady returned to her car, and was soon joined by her husband, who apparently had further information, as they headed in the opposite direction. “Maybe they’re going the other route, over Mt. Hood. In any event, I think we were Divinely Guided not to meet Cousin John.”

Van agreed, and we happily returned to Gail’s. But, I became anxious about what would await me there. I’d tried to make contact, but she hadn’t responded; and we’d already eaten, so we wouldn’t burden her with that quandary. Either she would be okay, or not; up, or down. That’s the nature of manic-depression.

But, somehow, my inner child had not, as yet, managed to adapt to the roller-coaster, because some inner mechanism triggered when we arrived, and found that she had prepared a complete holiday menu: potato salad, barbecued chicken, baked beans, French bread, and desert. When we didn’t arrive earlier, she and her friend, Henry, had already eaten, and were now resting.

I felt like the errant child, who hadn’t done things right. Of course, it was a no-win situation from the beginning, due to lack of communication. And when she asked if we were hungry, I said, “No. didn’t you get my phone message? We stopped for hamburgers.”
“Well, it wasn’t clear,” she replied, “so I figured, either you would be here, or you wouldn’t. It’s okay; but I even made you potato salad without onions.”

\
I felt devastated, and my body went into a negative reaction, like being run over by a herd of elephants. Nothing I could do helped me pull out of it. I was in codependency relapse to the max. And I could experience how the condition got set up so many years ago, in similar situations with my mother and step-mother; both no-wins for me.

But, this time I tried to change patterns, with communications, so I said, “I called several times, but no answer. And today the line was busy, and when I called back, there was no answer. And I was confused about Friday, because there was no note, and your car was here, so I figured you were either taking a shower, or in bed. I didn’t know what was going on.”

She looked surprised, and then began to explain, “I wasn’t here. The Access Bus came to give me a ride to the Rainbow House. I didn’t order it, but it came, so I rushed out the door, and didn’t have time to leave a note.”

I knew there was probably some alternative explanation, beyond my perception, but my past experiences only allowed me the narrow aperture of seeing that she was repeating a past pattern of rejection.

She continued, “Today, when you called, I was talking with Darcy, and then left to get Henry.”
I felt like I was being strangled and suffocating, but, at least we were talking about it, instead of yelling and throwing things, as we did in the past, when we didn’t understand each other’s words or actions; and most of all, we didn’t understand our mutual chemical imbalances, thanks to the “family curse,” as my Aunt Betty called our mental illness tendencies.

Gail, too, seemed wiped out from the day, as she began washing her dishes. “Holidays are so hard on anyone dealing with these conditions.” I assumed she meant the depression and chronic fatigue syndrome, and I could relate to the situation more clearly every day, especially with my head spinning and my body reeling, but still trying to make things okay, I mumbled, “I tried to spare you the burden of fixing a meal for us, and you already had one ready.”

“Well, that’s how it goes. I was feeling better, and Henry bought the fixings for the dinner, and he also barbecued the chicken. Of course, I made the potato salad and trimmings.” And she added, “At least we’re getting together; some families can’t even make the effort.”

“I know, Demi Moore was estranged from her mother; but she got together with her a short time, before she died.”

It seemed that we were both uncomfortable, with our own inner issues, and I didn’t know what to do, so I said, “Well, I guess we’ll do our laundry. I’ll go check to see if there’s one available.”
“Okay, I’m going to take Henry home, so make yourself at home.” She seemed unwilling, or unable, to make any further effort toward our relationship.

Flashbacks in the Laundry Room
Two machines were open in the laundry room, so I asked Van to stay, while I gathered our laundry, but he had to change his clothes for washing, and went back to Freedom. When I’m emotionally affected, as I was from this incident, I get stressed and take it out on Van. In this instance, it took so long getting our clothes, soap and quarters together that both machines had been put to use, by the time we returned, and I angrily blamed him.

But, I filled the remaining machine with one load, and returned to Gail’s house, sat in her recliner, and watched the TV channel she’d left on. My body refused to recuperate, and felt trance-like, as I numbly watched the story unfold of a white lady and black lady, who had been childhood friends in the South, and were trying to rebuild their estranged relationship, as adults. Isn’t that interesting? Their efforts were about as strained as Gail’s and mine. In both cases, the women involved love each other, but their individual histories and attitudes interfere with the desired results.

Flashbacks of their childhood gave the background of their differences: in their case, it was the racial discrimination issues; and ultimately the pain felt by the black girl over not being equal, or having equal opportunities. Nevertheless, she went away to college and became a successful attorney in the North.

Now, she had returned for the funeral of her beloved father, and must, again, face the buried issues that still haunted her. The plot was complicated by the arrival of her significant other, and his inability to understand, or relate to her former life and friends, or her desire to return there and establish her law practice. Frankly, neither do I; but maybe I would need to watch future installments.

Or, maybe I need to further understand my own healing process. If only my flashbacks could give me as clear a picture. Perhaps that’s why my Higher Power was giving me these intense experiential aides: to bring the past and present together and to make the reality more clear, and thus allowing the pattern to go away of its own volition; a technic often used in therapy. Recreate the intensity of the emotion, or experience, and it disappears.

Well, I hope so; but I was deeply in it, at the time. Somehow, I managed to rouse from my stupor, check the laundry, once, and put the clothes into the dryer; but finally, Van switched the second load, and completed folding the clothes.

In the meantime, Gail returned and busied herself in the kitchen. I felt awkward, not knowing what to say, and finally muttered, “What are your plans for the evening?”
“I’m going to take a bath and go to bed,” she said,” leaving no room for options.
“Okay,” I mumbled, “then I’ll go to Freedom. See you in the morning.” I started out the door, and then turned, “What are your plans tomorrow?”
“I’m going to the Rainbow House,” she said.
“Well, we’re going to the muffler place at 8:00 a.m. I don’t know how long it will take, but is it okay to park here tonight?”
“Yeah, that’s okay,” she said with no indication of caring whether or not she would see us.”

From Mufflers to Radiators
The next morning Van busied himself getting ready to take Freedom for the next round of repairs, but I was too zonked to move, so he drove us to Creative Muffler for the early appointment.

Once parked, he soon returned to announce, “He can’t do the job, but suggested the God Guys in Bend.”
“So, are you going there?”
“No, the radiator is leaking badly, so he recommended a radiator shop up the road.”
“Oh, whatever.” Apparently I was still in overload, because this was too much to deal with, and I remained in bed, as Van drove to the shop. “Let me know, if he’s coming inside,” I grumbled.
Eventually, he returned to say, “He will need to come inside, and work from above.”

I got dressed, took my morning Isotonix brew of OPC-3, and other supplements, and stumbled to the back bedroom, where I again collapsed.
At some point, Van popped in and announced, “It’s going to cost $300.00, and will take a day-and-a-half.”
“Then call your mom and ask her to send you the money,” I mumbled in disgust, totally unwilling or unable to deal with the additional money problem. Besides, I secretly suspected that Little Ralph was into his Repairs on Freedom syndrome, which seems to delight him. But this time, I didn’t care. I had too many other emotions to deal with.

I uttered some silent prayers, read my Daily Affirmations, and finally, my head began to clear, and I got up, took a Tylenol, ate breakfast, and began writing on my chapter, happy not to be interrupted, as yet, by Marv, the Radiator Man. And Van stayed outside to watch the repair work and chat.

As usual, when I write out these scenarios, I was feeling quite good; and then Van opened the door, “Gail’s out front,” he announced.”
I thought, “She must have stopped at the muffler shop and was told we were here.” However, when I walked inside, I asked, “Did you know we were here?”

She looked rather surprised, and totally unresponsive, but said, “No, I just came to get my smokes.”
I looked around, and noticed that we were in a convenience store, at the front. The muffler shop was actually hidden, in the rear. She walked out the door, as I said, I called, but your answer machine wasn’t working.”
“I slept in,” she said, as she got into her car, and added, “I’ve got to go home and get ready to go the Rainbow House.”
I knew she wasn’t due there for several hours, but I said, “Well, we have to stay here for a day-and-a-half, so if you want to see us, this is where we’ll be.”
“Okay,” she said, and drove off.
When I returned to Freedom, I said, “She didn’t know we were here.”
“She went right by Freedom,” Van said.
“Oh!”
I went inside and pondered the situation, while continuing to update my chapter.

Back in Time
By noon, I had finished my update, and then continued revising Book One of the Travel Series. Wouldn’t you know, the next chapter for revision, written in 1997, during our first trip to Oregon, dealt with these very same issues: the roller-coaster relationships with my mother and Gail; and this time, they were at the same time. I had been summoned back to Portland, from visiting my friend, Bonnie, in the mountains of northeastern Washington, because Mother wasn’t expected to live through the night. Nevertheless, we made the trek, over the narrow, winding mountainous roads, through the apple orchards of southern Washington, and finally, along the Columbia River Gorge.

I already knew that Mother was “resurrected from the dead,” because I’d called the next morning, only to learn that she was up, and talking with her visitors. In fact, she even talked to me, on the phone, and requested that I return to Oregon, “for one last visit.” Of course, that was two years ago, and she’s still here, and on my agenda for another visit, within the next week, for her birthday.

While there, Mom reported that Gail had called and bad-mouthed me, as usual, and this time Mom told her “You shouldn’t talk like that, no wonder you’re sick. You should forgive your mother.” I rejoiced that my mom had defended me, and that Gail had even agreed, and her health seemed to improve, thereafter. At the time, she was living in southern California, and had a long-standing addictive relationship with her significant other; but they later broke up, she moved to Redmond, and he married another lady. And, somehow, she survived the trauma, all by herself, and likes her own company.

But that was then; this is now, and the madness continues. For instance, around five o’ clock, I called to see if she still planned on us getting together for the leftover dinner. She mumbled, to the point of incoherence, but I ascertained that she hadn’t gone to The Rainbow House, “Too many people there on Tuesday,” and she’d spent the day in bed. I asked about dinner, but decided that probably wasn’t going to happen.

However, within an hour, she knocked on the door, handed me some BBQ chicken, and some beans, without coming inside, and left. I was so hungry that I gladly accepted, and began eating cold chicken and potato salad, because the generator was disconnected for the repair work.
My mouth was full of chicken, when another knock brought me to the door. Gail stood, at the bottom of the steps, reaching out a white paper bag. “Here are two to-die-for chocolate eclairs from that gourmet bakery.” I thanked her profusely, and again, invited her in, but she refused, muttering, “Maybe later.”

I took time to clarify her schedule for the next day, adding, “If I don’t see you, I’ll leave your dishes on the back porch.”
She didn’t return, and, as planned, I left the dishes on her porch, with a “Thank you” note, and a lump in my throat. Again, I felt like I’d been beaten up, and it took the rest of the day to recover my equilibrium.
Added to the feeling of incompletion and grieving, over my relationship with Gail, I was stunned when the repair work was completed, and Van announced, “It cost $500.00.”
“How did it get to there from $350.00?”
“Well, he had extra work to do on the radiator, which he hadn’t included.”
“It would have been nice, if he would have told you, some place along the way.”
“Yes, but I feel it’s a fair price; after all, it took three hours to get the radiator out, and equally long to put it back.”
I was in overload, and couldn’t deal with it, so grumbled, “Whatever,” and tried to regroup my internal balance.

Chapter 9
WITH CHILDLIKE WONDER

Along the Way
We stopped at the Ogden Wayside, above Crooked River, and I prepared Gail’s leftovers for lunch, again appreciating that one way she shows her love is through her cooking. Yet, even though I understand that, it doesn’t help erase the physical and emotional pain felt by my inner child, and I took solace in reading my daily reading.

It spoke of the “childlike wonder” of children on vacation; speaking of their delight in making new discoveries. It spoke of familiar sights seeming new and exciting when viewed with childlike wonder. These words seemed appropriate, as Joanie now looked forward to returning to her roots, at Kah-nee-ta Hot Springs, formerly owned by her adopted parents, where she had grown up (mostly during the summertime).

Van eased Freedom out of the parking lot, and back onto Highway 97, across the Crooked River Gorge (with its new bridge under construction), and along the high plateau, which ordinarily overlooks the snow-covered Cascade Range, where we had spent Memorial Day weekend; but now was enshrouded with heavy clouds; something like my heart was feeling; certainly, the symbology was not lost, despite my preoccupation with a crossword puzzle.

We zoomed past Smith Rocks, and continued onward, until we dipped down, into Madras, a small, farm town in the valley, and our nearest shopping center, when living at Kah-nee-ta. As we passed the familiar, and the changed, buildings, I remembered the big adventure of coming to town for lunch and shopping. And several times, during my first marriage (when living there for six months) we attended a movie, such as Liz Taylor and Montgomery Clift in “A Place in the Sun.”

And there’s The Stag Family Restaurant, which used to be down a side street. Before climbing back up the hill, we passed the “new” Safeway, which had been there for many years, but not when we shopped. What a blessing it must be to the locals. I knew that we should stop for supplies, but couldn’t cope with it, so we drove on, across another plateau that usually offers the breathtaking view of Mt. Hood, but it, too, was enshrouded in clouds. However, in the distance, we could see the barren hills that we would soon be driving over.

But, first, we drove down hill, into another canyon, and along the Deschutes River, past the Rainbow Market, over the bridge, and onto the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and their museum. Within minutes we were at the Warm Springs Agency, where I first lived with Mom and Dad Freeland, when he was the physician. Thinking about it, now, that must have been a low-point in his career; but Dad, no doubt, had taken the job to be near the Hot Springs which they’d purchased in order for Mom to bathe in the mineral water, to relieve her painful arthritis. It had worked, too, as she no longer had pain, when I knew her.

Of course, the demands and frustrations of owning Hot Springs, and, I guess, life itself, had ultimately driven her to another kind of pain, which she tried to relieve with alcohol. It may have relieved her suffering (I doubt it), but it certainly caused untold pain for me, and Dad, too. But that is another story; although living with her addictions added to my current distress, dealing with mental illness. I’d learned so much about these conditions, and their affects, which cause Codependency, symptomatic of Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families. Believe me, I definitely qualified for that title. But, over the years of recovery, in Twelve Step Programs, had brought me to the place where I could survive short-term relationships, with addicts and mental illness.

But, I digress; for I must bring to your attention the local points of interest: Massey’s Store, where I learned to shop, which is now called Macey’s Store, years ago having been purchased by Dan Macey, who I remember when he first worked there, as a young man, and who married one of the Indian maidens. Now, his sons run the business.

I felt sad, looking at the run-down building, which once housed Sees Mercantile and the Post Office. Slow down, and see the almost white house (with the peeling paint), on the corner, over the cattle-guard; that’s where I lived. And through the trees, you can almost see the one-story brick building, now a clinic that was the pride of the reservation: the new hospital, with Dr. Freeland, the chief of staff. Many memories here; but let’s move on.

There’s the old Indian Boarding School, and over there are the Agency offices. But, now we’re heading up the hill, past the rocky bluffs that look like the ones in the famous painting, Trail’s End, with the Indian bent forward, as he sits on his tired horse, at dusk. On the left, you can see the Garment Industry, and other buildings, which weren’t there, in my days, and neither was the community of homes on the other side of the hill. But, when we drive down this hillside, before we cross Dry Creek, which today has water in it, you’ll see the grassy area where Joanie once saw the Easter bunnies on Easter Sunday. Talk about “Childlike Wonder,” she never forgot that special events, although she’s never since seen them there.

Up another hillside, and down the other side, onto yet, another plateau, where we can see across the valley to the Kah-nee-ta Lodge, and far beyond, over another, to the color-tinged distant mountains; one of my favorite scenes, especially at sunset with the shades turning to pinks and purples.

In the foreground, to the right, you can see the fenced pasture where the cattle and my horses roamed. But, it’s empty, now; only the cave, with its three entrances, is still there, on the side of the canyon. How I loved to hike over that hillside, from the valley on the other side, and this time of year I would pick the pretty spring flowers, such as the purple lupine, which are now blooming profusely.

Van has geared down for the steep downward grade that takes us into the valley below. But, we have time to enjoy the view: the Warm Springs River, at the floor of the canyon, pulls our attention, but far more spectacular are the colorful rock formations, such as the ones directly ahead, reaching from the river below, to over a thousand feet, and filled with ripples and caves. I once got stuck trying to climb along its face, and had to take off my shoes and inch carefully along the side; a very scary ordeal.

As you can see, every place I look has memories. For instance, one time my natural parents, and my brothers, and my boyfriend camped up that canyon, in a large cave, big enough for cattle to seek shelter. And those waterfalls, up river, though treacherous looking, actually have a solid rock bottom, where we loved to wade, and then sit on the hot springs that bubbled between the underwater rocks. And our favorite sport was to ride air mattresses, over the falls, and downstream; such memorable times.

But, of course, the most exciting time was when they were filming the movie Tonka, and Sal Mineo, the actor, riding his horse along that hillside, fell off, and had to be rushed, by ambulance, to the hospital (in Bend, or maybe Redmond). And up that other canyon, called Indian Head, because of the rock formation of an Indian warrior, the horses for the movie were corralled. And down below us, along the last stretch of the road, the portable dressing rooms were parked; and across the river, the caterers were set up, under huge canapés. I even got to eat lunch there, with one of the actors, Raphael Campos; but that’s another story, too.

Finally, Van drove across the river, and switched back to the other side of the canyon, beneath more colorful rock formations. And now, we could see the lodge, in the distance, on the side of the hill. But we were going to the RV Park, so Van pulled into the entrance and we checked in.

Illusion or Reality?
Soon, we were settled into our favorite site, #45, and then walking along the river toward “Heavenly Paradise,” as I called the sandy beach area along my favorite part of the river. However, the embankment, where we were walking, which had been built up to offset future floods, after the Big Flood several years ago, obliterated the sandy beach. But, I could still hear the gurgling water, which sounded like talking, and I paused to listen. The gentle wind rustled the wild pink roses, and their aroma wafted into our nostrils, as our senses absorbed the moment “with childlike wonder.”

Along the red adobe hillside, the yellow sunflowers blossomed, and as we continued our walk, I stopped abruptly and exclaimed, “Those bright blue flowers are bachelor buttons; what are they doing there? I’ve never seen them growing wild along here.”

Van too, stopped to admire the few blossoms, and I tried to imagine how the seeds had made their way to this spot, as I thought, “Maybe they were transported, during the flood,” but it was enough to enjoy them, now, while listening to the singing birds in the trees and passing one wonder-full scene after another, as we continued walking. Suddenly, an orange oriole fluttered from the trees along the way, and landed on another branch, further down the road.

Soon, the roar of the rapids greeted our ears, and then came into view, from beyond the bushes. “We can go rent a kayak,” Joanie teased, “and I can take your picture riding along here.”
“Oh, thanks,” Little Ralph replied, “but I think I’ll pass.” Joanie giggled.

Before long, we’d come out of the narrow canyon, and the terrain opened up wider where the sewage plant was fenced-off. And, up on a high pole, we spotted a huge stick nest, with a bald-headed eagle perched alongside it. “Wow, look at that,” Joanie exclaimed, adding, “You don’t see that sight very often.” Both kids stopped to stare, and the eagle flew off to another perch, where, we noticed, its mate was waiting. “They’re trying to distract us from their nest,” I observed,” and we obligingly walked on to the fence, under their watchful eye.

The return walk was even more enjoyable, in anticipation of each wonder, and then savoring them with our senses. Again, the orange oriole flitted in front of us, and landed on a nearby tree, as I spoke to it of its beauty. I think it listened and understood our admiration. I looked for the bachelor buttons, hoping to take one back, but we couldn’t find them. “Maybe they weren’t really there,” Joanie said, in wide-eyed wonder. “Maybe they were an illusion for our benefit.”
“Oh no,” the more practical Little Ralph said, “They were there; we just missed them. Do you want to go back?”
“No, I don’t think so,” I said, but Joanie’s lower lip pouted. “I’m getting tired of walking; I want to go for a hot tub and swim, now.”

Joanie rummaged through the drawers and found her swimsuit, thongs, and beach towel, and then ambled up the pathway, through the teepee village, and into the gift shop. “I just want to check things out, before going swimming.”

Chatting with the clerk, we were astounded to learn that, while we enjoyed the peaceful mountain campground, over the Memorial Weekend, this place abounded with guests, “You couldn’t even see the water, there were so many people,” the fellow said. “In fact, on Sunday we passed our previous sales record, and Monday we even surpassed that amount.”

We walked on, toward the pool entrance, and I said, “Talk about timing. We were in the right place at the right time, then; and looking at the near empty pool, I added, “This is the perfect time to be here, now.” Furthermore, the cloudy, cool weather had suddenly shifted, and the sun came out. “That’s amazing,” I said, “The sun always sets behind that hill, by this time.”

“Well, you’ll have plenty of sunshine, now,” Van concluded. He then left, and went back to the showers, because he feels he got enough water in the Navy, as a frogman.
While he was within earshot, I chortled, “Maybe you’ll want to get your swimsuit and join me, after your shower,” knowing full-well that he wouldn’t.

But, no problem, Joanie soon found her way into the hot tub for a lengthy soak, and chatted with the German couple, who later joined her. She couldn’t resist, when the opportunity presented itself, as it always does, to mention that she had once lived here. Reactions range between mild interest to surprise, or great interest, and then she gets to share her stories. Of course, some people, knowing that this is an Indian Reservation, and that white people can’t own Indian land, assume I’m lying. In the past, some folks mention the fact, and I explain that the law came into effect, after my parents bought this land. And then the conversation continues. But these folks didn’t comment, so the subject was dropped.

They left, and Joanie, too, felt enervated from the heated tub, so went to the cooler, but still warm mineral pool (warmer than body temperature). Now, because of recurring heartburn reflux, whenever I swim, I soaked, and carefully paddled around the buoyant water, watching two young men practice swimming, with input from the lifeguard’s expertise, while three young Indian boys tossed a ball into the hoop, above the water; and the younger one swished down the water slide (a new innovation installed last year, during reconstruction, after the flood).

Bouncing idly through the pleasant warm water, while basking in the sun, and surveying the surrounding hills, including the red adobe one I’d slid down on the seat of my pants, I observed these sights and sounds with wonder, as I remembered the days of my youth, spent here, in these waters, where I’d learned to swim, taught by my second grade teacher; a young lady from Hawaii.
Used to my own style of dogpaddle, I resisted being taught new ways, and announced, “I like me own stuff the best,” according to Mom’s report of the lessons. Of course, I was told to learn my lessons, and I did. Now, unfortunately, I couldn’t put into application my sidestroke, which was the teacher’s expertise, and I chuckled, as the boys effortlessly refined their frog-stroke.

I also observed, with wonder, the Indian boys enjoying their water fun, as I recalled that, in those days, the Indians weren’t allowed in the swimming pool; and, in fact, the Indians had a separate bath house. Even at that time, I wondered about the discrimination, but it wasn’t any of my business; and now, watching their fun, it made sense that they too, could swim, without the consideration of refusal. It reminded me of the TV movie I had watched, while at Gail’s, about the Black Lady’s memories of racial discrimination, and I was glad to be living in these more enlightened times. Yet, I knew that we have a long way to go toward tolerance of each other.
In fact, after returning to Freedom, I briefly glanced at a TV program about the war in Kosovo, and some families being welcomed in the Portland area, and I recalled seeing similar coverage in Boise, Idaho. Indeed, this country welcomes foreigners, but many are intolerant of Native Americans, who were here long before we came to these shores.

In retrospect, I remembered that my adopted parents (grandfather) bought this land from an Indian lady, for a small payment and a red purse, as I recall; and sold it back to the Confederate Tribe for less than a moderate-priced home, back in the 1960’s. Now, there was something for Joanie to really wonder about; that Mom Freeland, in her alcoholic frenzy, had sold this precious land, without keeping any part, or privileges, for the family. In fact, we could only afford to stay here one night, in the RV Park, for the current rate: $38.00, let alone staying in the luxurious and pricey lodge. But, that’s just another wonder of life; and I cannot dwell on it.

Another Reason for Wonderment
So, we moved on; in consciousness, at least. And I still had, before me, another adventure in childlike wonderment. I had planned for us to have breakfast at the lodge, and perhaps, indulge in their delicious Belgian waffle with wild huckleberry syrup, but my writing lasted too long. In fact, it even went beyond lunch, and suddenly I noticed that we must hurry, in order to move Freedom from our space by 1:00 p.m., park it in the lot, and catch the shuttle to the lodge in time for lunch, which ended in a half-hour. At the laundry room, I used to House Phone to call and let the dining room receptionist know that we were on our way, and barely made it to join Van at the waiting shuttle.

Actually, I had more on my mind than lunch this day. It all began in February, when I received a letter from Margo, Administrative Assistant, at Kah-nee-ta Hot Springs. She said that Shirley had told her I had some pictures of early Kah-nee-ta, and she was anxious to see them; in fact, looking forward to our next visit.

For some reason, I’d not responded to the letter; and I hadn’t even called to tell her we were at the RV Park. Instead, I’d gathered my pictures and book I’d written, Pilgrimage to Kah-nee-ta, along with her letter, and took them with me to the lodge. On the shuttle, while talking with the driver, Floyd, an old-timer member of the tribe, I mentioned that I was Dr. Freeland’s daughter, and that I had lived there many years ago. He told me where he had lived, further down the river, and we chatted about the fires and floods, a popular topic of conversation for locals.

He asked if I had any pictures of the old pool, and I said, “As a matter of fact, I have them with me,” and I removed the pages from my stack and showed him. While he drove and looked, I added, “Margo wants to see them, and I’m bringing them for her to copy. I guess I’d better make an appointment.”

When we walked inside, Floyd went with me to the front desk, and told me to tell the clerk. When I spoke my name, the other clerk, Donna, looked up, and said, “Oh, how nice to see you, again,” with the kind of enthusiasm reserved for notoriety, and I was elated. Finally, someone showed some interest in the fact that my parents once owned this place, and that I had grown up here. It made my day; in fact, my whole life! However, I was embarrassed that I hadn’t remembered my chat with Donna, during our last visit.

But, then I remembered my mission, and hastily explained, to the first clerk, that we were going to have lunch, and could she make the appointment for later, but she quickly returned from her phone call to Margo, and announced, “She’s leaving at 2:30, so she’s coming down right now. I barely had time to turn around, as a lovely looking white-haired lady approached. I liked her immediately, and especially when she bubbled with enthusiasm at finally getting to meet me, and nearly grabbed the pictures from my hands, and began looking.
“You know, there’s just no history about that period of Kah-nee-ta,” she said, “and I’m so glad to see these.”
I held up my book, and said, “I wrote this book, about the history,” and she reached for it, as I said, “I didn’t sign it.”
“Would you, please?” she asked, and walked me to the desk for a writing surface, and a pen.
“Who should I make it to?” I asked.
She quickly replied, “Me!” And I had no doubt of her interest, so I wrote: “To Margo. Thank you for being interested,” and I signed and dated the book.
“I can hardly wait to read it,” she said, and I knew she was sincere. Then she added, “I wish I had time to take the pictures to a Kodak shop and have them professionally photographed, but I know they are precious, so I’ll take these upstairs and copy them. I’ll return them to your table in the dining room.”

And a Wonder-full Meal
I knew she was in a hurry, as it was long after 2:00 p.m., and I was also concerned that we would miss lunch, so I’d sent Van in to get a table. Now, in some kind of altered state, I rushed to join him. Talk about “wonderment,” I was so thrilled that I could hardly focus my attention on the menu. But Van, without hesitation ordered the Indian Taco Salad, a huge pile of goodies on top of Indian Fry Bread, which he remembered from the past. Finally, I noticed a favorite that I had previously enjoyed, and ordered the Chicken Marsala: shitake and oyster mushrooms in a sherry sauce, over tender chicken breast and rice, with a tasty salad of baby greens topped with crumbled blue cheese and toasted pecans, and served with huckleberry vinaigrette dressing. Now, this was my kind of meal!

Soon Margo reappeared, and, despite her need to leave, we became so absorbed in our conversation, that she sat down, and we continued chatting. But, when my salad arrived, she politely stood, and excused herself. We both agreed that we would be in contact, again, and I said that we would be in the area, and could return later in the summer.

“I’ll be here,” she said jauntily, and waved, as she disappeared from the dining room.
I was so excited, I could hardly eat, but the delicious salad brought my attention back to earth; and when the entree’ arrived, it was so wonderful that I kept focused on eating, while chatting with Van about the visit. “Imagine, My Love, she’s worked here for ten years, and only now did I find her. Considering that I’ve been searching for someone to take an interest in this book for that long, don’t you think it’s amazing that it’s happening, at this time?”
He nodded, and continued eating, as I continued talking, “I wonder what has changed? Why is it happening now? And, I wonder what will happen with the book. She said she would see if it would be marketable; and if so, she’ll present it to the Council of Confederate Tribes.” I paused, and then added, “As I told her, it was presented to them, once before, but they didn’t like certain parts that they felt demeaned the Indians, such as Dad Freeland’s story about them putting the cough syrup on their pancakes, which I thought was a cute story. Anyway, I told her that I would be glad to make any changes. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to hearing her feedback.”

I fell silent, as I thought about my promise to get the pictures professionally photographed. I knew this would be expensive, but it obviously needed to be done. But first, we would see how well they would duplicate on my new computer. My mind raced with ideas, and my heart swelled with joy, over the interest and acceptance I’d received this day.

I wondered if the process I’d been through with Gail could possibly have altered the events in my life by, somehow, changing patterns. In any event, I said a silent, “Thank you, God.”

Secret Caves and Hidden Objects
When I started this chapter, I wondered if I would have enough to write about for more than a few pages. And, yet, it’s still going. In fact, I figured that, with the opening pages giving a picture journey into Kah-nee-ta, via the Warm Springs route, and then the closing could appropriately give a description of our leaving via Simnasho and Wapinitia. As my daily reading said, “My imagination sails before me on wings of creative thinking to explore infinite possibilities.”

Okay, so with that inspiration, let the return journey begin. Perhaps I should mention the Squirrel Crossing sign, as we slowly exit the RV Park and climb the small hill behind the picnic arbor, where our home once stood. These are gray ground squirrels, with big bushy tails, as I recall from other times, although I hadn’t seen any this trip. Joanie was far more interested in the rock formations, at the north end of the entrance road, where a small, hidden cave contains the remains of our dog, Foxy, forever entombed behind a cement cover. An article about the crypt even appeared in a local newspaper. But nowadays very few people are aware of its existence. Tourists are more drawn to the wooden shed that surrounds the bubbling hot mineral spring, with steaming vapors, that feeds the swimming pool.

From here, we can see the huge cave, across the river, big enough for a man on horseback to enter, if he could get to it. The entrance has eroded away, now, but it’s still accessible for people on foot, and I once found an Indian arrowhead at the entrance. I’m sure there would be tales told, if the walls of the cave could talk, of the days when Indians camped inside its protective walls.
Once over the bridge, and beyond the cave, we pass Charley’s Canyon, with a road that leads to Charley’s home, and beyond, to the Deschutes River. But, near the beginning of the road, across an adobe ravine, and up the hillside, there’s another hidden cave. This one contains fossilized shells, which is a wonder, in itself, considering that the Warm Springs River is the only nearby body of water, and it’s nowhere near this cave. To me, it’s proof of the inland sea that has been said once existed in this area; and it’s definitely a wonderment.

The Indian Head, George Washington, and a Porthole
They’re all rock formations, and they’re all in Indian Head Canyon. Yes, and there is no mistaking them. They are more of the best kept secrets along our journey.

North of this canyon, we come into an open area with a fenced pasture on the right side that was once our upper forty acres, where some of the cattle and horses grazed. I remember that once, as a child, walking through the green field, with the hired hand, whom I called Uncle Roy, and stopping at the spring for a drink of water, out of a tin cup that hung on a post.

Beyond the pasture, the road abruptly turns and winds up the side of the valley onto another plateau. From here, you can see forever: Kah-nee-ta far below, in the valley; and the same view that we saw from the plateau, before going into the valley; and far in the distance, the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, and the other mountains in the Cascade Range. And, once we’ve gone over the crest in the hill, Mt. Hood looms before us in all her snow-covered majesty. Whereas they were all covered by clouds the day before; now they were grandly visible, in a panoramic splendor, with the fluffy white clouds still hanging around the forests below. Wonderment!
Perhaps, belonging in the preceding chapter, but pertinent here, is another matter of timing: a guest, riding the shuttle van, said they had been at Sisters the day before, and it was snowing. Thank you, God, for the wonder of Your Divine Timing.

Ghost Towns: Simnasho and Wapinitia
Still on the Indian Reservation, the village of Simnasho once boasted a lovely white church, which is now turned gray and boarded up. And it had an Indian Long House, where ceremonial dances were chanted, but it’s now a pile of rubble. A few inhabited homes remain, but it’s essentially a ghost town, nestled amongst the pines.

My biggest memory, relating to this town, is about the time when my first husband, Randal, young daughters, and I were driving across the road to Kah-nee-ta that Van and I had just come along. In fact, it was over Memorial Weekend, and apparently several of the young bucks were celebrating. In any event, there were several in a truck, and one by the road, with a rifle in his hand. He told us that we couldn’t go through there, and demanded that we return the way we’d come. Randal started backing up, and I yelled at the girls to duck, while I did too, because these guys weren’t kidding. In fact, one of the fellows in the truck actually shot above the car.

There was a reservation police station at Simnasho, in those days, and we stopped to report the incident, and were escorted back by the officer. However, the truck was gone.
The next day, an officer stopped at the folks and asked us to come to Warm Springs to identify the culprits, who were now in jail. The officer opened the jailhouse door, and there we were; no lineup, with us behind a secret window. We were in the same room with a dozen Indians, and I went blank; but Randal pointed to one, who waved and smiled. And then another, who also acknowledged his identity; and a third, who did the same. The officer thanked us, and we left.
Wapinitia, which is not on the reservation, once offered the wondrous Hartman’s Mercantile Store. It had a red gas pump out front, and everything imaginable stacked on shelves or hanging from the walls, if not the rafters. I loved it, and I always got to have some candy, when we shopped there, as a child.

To make the place even more wondrous, Mom told me, in later years, that one time she was standing there, talking to Mr. Hartman, when she had an out-of-body experience, and found herself floating up into the air, and through the roof. She could see herself and Mr. Hartman, below, and she forced herself back through the roof, and into her body. Mom was like that, which added more wonder into my life.

But, now, nothing remained of Hartman’s Store, though his nearby house was still standing, with signs of being occupied, and sporting a fresh coat of sage green paint. I find it difficult to understand how people can live in such an isolated area, though Wapinitia is only a mile from the highway. But, this is a farming community, and the people apparently live there by choice. It definitely would not be my choice.

Another Fork in the Road
At the highway intersection, I asked Van to stop by the service station, because I had no idea where to go. Usually, I feel Guidance, but this time there was none. I’d been concerned about the clouds, and possible storm over Mt. Hood, but it was clear. Now, my main concern was the strong winds, and that route would take us through the forest.

Another choice had been to head north, and follow the Columbia River to Portland. This option would also give me the opportunity to leave off a set of dishes for my granddaughter, Heidi. However, I had called and left a message, but assumed she was still on vacation.

A third option was to visit a former schoolmate, who lived on a wheat ranch near Moro, which was also near the Columbia River, only further east; but I needed to call her, first. However, the cell phone reception had been too low for a decent conversation, so now I thought I could call her.

In the meantime, I’d received a “missed call” notice on my cell phone, and tried to return it, but no one answered. Now, the mystery became, “Who has an 808 area code.” No one that I knew, unless it was Heidi, and she’d gone to Hawaii. But I didn’t know, so I called Dottie to see if she had any clues.

The reception was still low, but we managed to talk long enough for her to look in the phone book to learn the area code for Hawaii. Sure enough, that was it, so I decided to rule out the option of visiting her, for now. And I definitely felt a sense of wonder at the timing of this phone call, because now I chose to save these two visits for another time, and we took the option of going the Mt. Hood route.

The next problem was a place to stay for the night. Should we push on over the mountain, and find a place toward Portland, possibly in the rain? Or should we stay at Bear Springs campground, which was about twenty miles away?

Bear Springs at Night
Van started driving through the farmlands, while we discussed these options, with Mt. Hood glistening in the evening sunlight. Soon we were into the forest, and noticed the trees waving wildly in the wind, which had been another concern, as we considered our options. I do not like the prospect of tall pine trees falling on top of us; but we kept driving. I’d already decided to let God guide us to the perfect stop for the night, so awaited His selection. The first campground definitely did not feel right, so we kept going.

The next sign said, Bear Springs Campground, and I knew that was the place. For one thing, it felt right, and also, Bear Springs had been a favorite stop for Joanie, when we made the trips into Portland. She’d always make sure she had something to eat, if no more than crackers, and we’d stop for a picnic. Some memories weren’t pleasant. For instance, one time we’d driven along the dirt roads, through a forest fire, which added to my fear of fires. But this night I felt safe here, and we pulled into the campground.

Only a lone camper visible and it belonged to the Camp Host, who came to greet us. He directed us to a large, pull-through site, and once situated, we realized that there was no wind. Now, that is really a wonderment; bordering on a miracle. We happily settled in for the evening, and I updated my chapter, before retiring.

Bear Springs in Daytime
I’d been on a roll, lately, revising the first book in my Travel Series, and spent the morning at my computer, while Van went through his usual morning routine. By this time, the wind had kicked up, but Joanie still felt safe here, and wanted to walk across the street to the Day-Use area.
The sun shone through the thick forest, and the wind swayed the upper branches, making a swishing sound, as we walked through the campground. I’ve never liked the sound of wind, and I suspect it goes back to childhood, when the sound frightened me, during the Oregon storms. But, this is one memory I’m not going to pursue, just accept, as part of me.

Strolling through the Day-Use area, I began searching for the drinking fountain. “Once you taste this spring water,” I said to Van, “you’ll never be satisfied with any other. It’s the best.
“There used to be a rock-based fountain here, by the side of the road, and we always stopped for a drink, with my picnic. It was tradition.”

There had been changes in the picnic area, throughout the years, and I was disoriented, until I spotted the old stone fireplace and tables where my son, Marquam, and I had stopped for a picnic on my “Pilgrimage to Kah-nee-ta” in 1987; the one I wrote the book about. A chunk of the fireplace had been broken lose, perhaps by the huge fallen tree lying nearby.

Now, Van and I ambled across the green meadow, with yellow flowers, to a nearly hidden picnic shelter, and came upon a faucet by a low post, but it wasn’t the elusive drinking fountain. Soon, we were stopped by a rippling creek, between us and the other side of the park. So we turned back and began wandering toward the road.

Suddenly, I stopped and pointed, “There it is” Joanie shouted triumphantly, and began leaping toward the shiny drinking fountain, nearly hidden by the lengthy fallen tree. I turned it on and took a long, thirst-quenching drink, and it lived up to my expectations: no metallic, or chemical, taste; in fact, no taste; only a satisfying sensation of cool water. “Now that’s how water should taste,” I said to Van. “Come on, have a drink.”

Little Ralph stooped down for a long slurp, and finally looked up, with a satisfied smile, as Joanie said, “See, what did I tell you? Now, you’ll never be satisfied with any other water.” Then she groaned, “Oh dear, now I wish we hadn’t filled our water jugs at Kah-nee-ta. We could have had this water for awhile longer.”

Nevertheless, she began walking onward, and stopped in her tracks. “Look, something is flapping over there in that pond. Little Ralph paused and squinted to see, then announced, “It’s a bird taking a bath.” And we watched, in childlike wonder, as the water splashed into the air.
Later, back in Freedom, as we started to move from our space, a bird flew by and landed on a limb in front of us. “Look,” Joanie exclaimed, “I think it’s the same bird. It’s quite unique, and I doubt if there are many others. It flew off, and we moved onward.

Huckleberry Ice Cream Cone in the Fog
Soon after we left Bear Springs, the sun disappeared above a cloud layer. “You can tell where Central Oregon and Northern Oregon divide,” I said. “Right here!” And we continued enshrouded in a white blanket of clouds, which we had been able to see, from a distance, the day before.
Joanie’s next destination was Government Camp, another favorite stop in by-gone days, where we sometimes had a “Square meal on a round bun,” otherwise known as a hamburger, at Hilltop Cafe. “It used to be over there,” Joanie said to Little Ralph, and they had a big black bear in a cage, out front.”

But today’s quest was a huckleberry ice cream cone, at Huckleberry Inn, across the street. “This will be a completion,” Joanie said, “because we didn’t stop for one at that shop by Smith’s Rock, near Redmond.”

When Marquam and I took our pilgrimage, we’d stopped here for a huckleberry milkshake, and were taken aback by the rude waitress. This time, I laughed at the sign on the wall, above the counter, “Hospitality starts here.” Okay, I’m willing to give it another chance, I thought. And this time a different waitress fulfilled the promise, as she dished up a huge scoop of rippled huckleberry ice cream, “That will be $2.00.” Whew! Joanie took a big lick, and announced, “It’s worth it! Better get one for yourself,” she announced to Little Ralph, who usually takes some bites from mine. Not this one!

We wandered around the room, looking at old-time pictures on the wall. “Oh, that’s right,” I said, “Battle-ax Inn used to be here, and it was made of huge logs.” As we moved on, I saw a familiar picture, “See, that’s the ski-bus I was looking for, when we came along the side road into here.”
Savoring her ice cream cone, Joanie had spotted a sign, “Take home our famous huckleberry syrup and jelly,” and kept mentioning the subject to Van, who didn’t respond. Finally, loud and clear she said, “Let’s get some huckleberry syrup to put on our ice cream at home.”
This time he looked surprised, and said, “Okay.”

Our mission complete, we walked back outside, into the cool weather, and hurried across the street to Freedom.
We’d been without phone service, or had low reception, for several days, but now the reception was good, so I called Dottie, only to find she wasn’t home. She’d promised to have some important news for us, but it would have to wait.

Sometimes I Wonder About Little Ralph
In the meantime, Van had promised to call his mom so she could confirm that money had been transferred to his account, to cover the extensive repairs, which weren’t over, yet. However, he chose not to call, at this time, because it’s her lunchtime. So, we drove onward into the clouds, definitely not a sunset.

Now, we began the downward descent, winding around the mountain, and again, lost our phone service. “You should have called your mom,” I scolded.
“I’ll call her later,” Little Ralph responded. I could tell that he was having difficulty with this transaction, because the Wonder-child had left, and the wounded child seemed to be here, band I knew it had to do with the money transaction and the phone call, so I was anxious to get it handled, and I wanted to hear Dottie’s news, and find out where to attend our ECCT event on Sunday.

But, we decided to pull into another National Forest Campground, until time for our training. Again, into the tall trees; this time with a gloomy cloud cover; and, furthermore, no phone service. Van walked to several areas, but nothing responded.

“You should have called your mom,” I repeated.
I’d been concerned, because something wasn’t right with Van, or Little Ralph, as the case may be, and I dreaded the thought of him slipping back into his old syndrome, as before we’d arrived in Colorado and he’d gotten back into his wonderfulness.

For some reason, another way I can tell things are not right with Van is the generator always acts up. Sure enough, here we were in this cold, dampish woods, and the generator started sputtering, while I attempted to warm our dinner. When Van went out to work with it, and came back smelling like fumes, which added to the ones already collected.
I was choking and gagging, on the verge of being sick, so went for a short walk, but the campground seemed to cater to single men, and I didn’t feel safe, so returned to the fumes, and opened the door. It wasn’t a pleasant evening, especially since Van’s energies had shifted, and his eyes took on a frightening strangeness; not his usually sweet self. So, I said, “You scare me,” and I went to bed.

After several days of my questioning, and bringing to his attention the change, he finally blurted out: “When I make a commitment or agreement, I like to keep it; and I feel uncomfortable when I don’t, such as making an agreement to call Mom. I realize that I should have made different arrangements, like telling her that I would call Thursday night, if there was a phone available, but, if not, I’d get with her as soon as possible.”

“Well, you didn’t know that the phone reception would be unavailable. You know, you’re not a child anymore, and there’s no need to beat yourself up over it.”
“I know that,” he said, “and I’ve stopped getting onto myself. It’s just that I didn’t make the right arrangements.”
“You’re dealing with communications, which you tend to avoid, as part of your holding back syndrome. So, next time give enough information. In the meantime, let’s get on with life. We have to get ready for our ECCT test tomorrow, after the training; and we need to go over our Spending Plan, okay?”
“Okay, are you ready?”
“Well, let’s decide whether or not we’re going to stay here today and tonight, or if we want to go into the hotel and park. And, what about the phone call to your mother?”
He paused, but his coloring and energies looked better, as he explained, “It’s okay, if I wait until tomorrow to call. It’s just that I don’t like not keeping my agreements.” Somehow, having made these communications, he seemed to be his Wonderful Self again.
“So, we’ll stay here and get ready for tomorrow, right?”
“Right!”
“But what about the generator not working? It seems that every time we get to this area, something goes wrong with it.”
“Sometime next week, we’ll get it fixed. It can’t be too serious, as we had repairs made in California, and TC, also, added a new part.”
Now, I felt reassured that Van was back, again, and I felt ready to move forward.

Chapter 10
OUT OF THE WOODS

Now, we Know Where we Stand
“Let’s get our Spending Plan done, first,” I suggested. And Van hauled out the notebook with our makeshift accounting system. Within a short time, we’d updated the figures, and determined that the deficit would be offset by his mom’s contribution.
“But, we must get serious about bringing in more money from our business,” I concluded.” Van nodded.
“In the meantime, I think we’d better set up our accounting system for our business,” I said, as I reached for the properly lined workbook.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why Van acts as if he’d never seen an accounting system, especially considering that he was a Personal Financial Consultant at various times. Nevertheless, he sat there with a blank look on his face, as I tried to organize the figures from our Business Account checkbook that he had meticulously recorded.

“Well, I guess we’d better title it, first. How about: Our Business Account on one line, and our names on the second, with Independent Distributors on the third?”
He faithfully recorded my suggestions, and then I looked through the checkbook, and came up with some column titles, which he listed, and then the amounts.
“I just want to be able to know where we stand,” I kept saying, as we tried several approaches, finally settling on one.

However, early into the project, we came across an entry that we couldn’t record, because it bunched Supplies and Products into one amount, so we would have to wait, until we could ask Dottie. But, we persevered, and finally got the entire two months (from the opening of our Business Account) recorded.

Some of the columns looked like chicken scratches, because we changed the titles so many times, but we finally had a workable accounting system that gave us the helpful information of what came in, and what went out, and where we stood, financially. And one that would be duplicable for Marquam’s records, which Van would need to teach him.
Unfortunately, one thing became painfully clear: we needed to get busy with this business, and bring in more money. But, this was a desirable effect of our bookkeeping efforts, and spurred us on to study for our next day’s Training and Test.

Can You Pass This Test?
Van would ask the pre-test Questions, which we had been given from our last Training, and it was as if I’d never heard any of them. But, after several hours, we were both responding like pros, and felt ready to return to the business at hand: taking the real test the next day at Doubletree Inn in Portland.

The next morning, it was still raining, as we pulled out of the dank, dark woods and headed out of the mountain fog. Familiar towns, such as Rhododendron (named after the flowering shrub, prolific in this area), Zigzag (named after the winding, rippling creek), and Brightwood.
Within a short time, we were out of the woods, and welcomed the morning sunshine poking through the clouds, by the time we reached Sandy. Suddenly, a shrill sound pierced the silence, telling us the phone service had returned. Now, we were really out of the woods (of non-communication), so I called Dottie for a quick update on the major upheaval at Steve’s work. Bottom-line, he still had a job, but many of the others had been fired, in the transition, and some jobs had been shifted. Now, with the new management, the company would be run like a real RV sales and service organization. “Every morning, Monday through Friday, there’s a Sales Meeting at 8:00 a.m. Vacation’s over,” Dottie said, with a laugh.
“How does Steve feel about it?
“He likes it. Now, it’s being run like a business.”
“You know, I have a feeling this change of consciousness will have a positive effect on your business, too.”
“Oh, for sure,” Dottie agreed, and added, “By the way, TC is no longer working as a mechanic; he’s the shop foreman!”
“Wow! That’s a step up, and it will have positive repercussions on his Market America business too.”
“That’s not all the news,” Dottie said, gleefully. “Barbara Ann (who also works at the same place) is signing up Judy and Ernie; and we may be taking a trip to Las Vegas (where they live) to do some training. And Arianna and Jason’s friend will sign up this month; so they will be activated.”
“That’s great news!” I exclaimed. You guys have taken a major turn. Congratulations!
“Thanks. Hey, I’ve got to go. Debbie’s here, and we’re going to present the Business Plan to some people.”
“Okay, we’re coming into town, now, so I’ve got to help navigate Van. The hotel is clear across town, along the Columbia River, which, of course, is the border of Washington.”

We’d allowed ourselves plenty of time, and we’d been to the Doubletree Inn last year, to a local seminar, so the early Sunday morning trip went smoothly, and so did the all-day training.
We hadn’t planned to take the test, again, because we were auditing, but Van decided it would be good, just to see how we were doing. Personally, I was still confused, because the actual test Questions are Multiple Choice and True/False, and are worded quite differently. However, it’s open book, so Van looked up the referral pages, and recorded our answers.
Later, we announced our grade to Dottie and Steve: 100 percent! And they both congratulated us.

Life Beyond the Test
Passing the test, though not required, seemed to move us to another level of reality. We were ready to move forward with our business; and with life.
Even the day had been enjoyable, as we chatted with Paul, Steve’s best friend for over twenty-years, and their sponsor into the business: the guy who earns $15,000.00 a month. And, of course, he’s also our upline; and our contact for any business assistance, while working with Marquam.

Also, I’d gotten acquainted with several other people, both have plenty of room for RV’s, and invited us to visit, while in the area: one couple live by a lake in Washington, and even have RV hookups for their guests. Another gal lives on a farm, on the way to the beach, where we planned to spend time. So, it felt good to be making new friends, as we exchanged business cards. We were finally beginning to feel like we belonged in this business; and were not the exceptions.

After the meeting, Van called his mom, and everything was fine with her: the money had been transferred into our account, to offset our heavy repair expenses; and we could now write checks for our current expenses, such as food. I could feel Van’s (and Little Ralph’s) sigh of relief, for somehow, this had been another major hurtle for his inner child’s growing up process.
Once that was accomplished, I called Marquam, but he was at work; so I called Sherry (Dottie and Steve’s friends, who are also in this business), and arranged to deliver the elk meat that we were hand-delivering from Dottie and Steve, as a “Thank you,” for helping Marquam sign up. They were available, and also had room for us to park for the night.

Now, we had to drive to the far southern part of town; actually, in the country, more specifically, in the woods. And it had been raining intermittently all day, including a few cloudbursts on the way. Again, winding along narrow roads, we finally reached the lane into their 4 acres.
I jumped out of Freedom and went inside, leaving him to get situated, between the family’s cars and the red mud. However, Ed helped; and they got more acquainted (we had met them last autumn, at the local seminar). In the meantime, I met some of their family members, who were gathered earlier, for Sunday dinner, and to enjoy their new granddaughter, Kendra, only six-weeks old.
It was an enjoyable evening. Again, I had a sense of belonging; and it felt good being with these folks who were also friends of Dottie and Steve. I hadn’t realized that Ed had been hunting with Steve and Sam (another mutual friend), as Steve was holding the flashlight out the window, of the pickup, yelling to Ed, “Shoot, Shoot!” Ed did, but Steve’s hand was in the way, and two fingers were shattered. Of course, they rushed him to the hospital, and Ed said, “I felt terrible; I didn’t even go hunting for two years.”
This was a bit of history that now fell into place, and I had a feeling it felt good to Ed to confess his part in the incident.

I Am Woman
Another part of family history, associated with Ed and Sherrie, is Sam, (mentioned above) and his wife, Merrie Jo, who were Dottie’s good friends, before she knew Steve. In fact, they introduced her to Leon (Sam’s brother), her first husband (Arianna’s dad). Although Ed and Sherrie didn’t know Leon, as he lived in Southern California, at the time, and Dottie was married to Steve. They both worked for Merrie Jo’s dress shop, I Am Woman, named by Dottie, who was Office Manager; and Steve worked as Warehouse Manager. They were neighbors, friends, and business associates; and Steve sometimes worked for Sam’s business, hanging drywall or laying concrete foundations, which Ed did, too.

Then Sam and Merrie Jo moved their clan to timber land near Republic, Washington, over ten years ago; and built a large family home. Although Van and I once visited our friend, Bonnie, who also lives near them, we didn’t get to see them, because we had to return to Portland,

unexpectedly, when Mom wasn’t expected to live. The most recent news, relating to that family is that Dottie and family plan to spend the New Year’s heralding the new Millennium, with them; just in case there are any serious repercussions from the Y2K threat.

This story has some bearing on our current situation, because we started to leave Ed and Sherrie’s, only to hear a loud clanking noise, such as the fan hitting against something. Van managed to get the “Dog House,” off, and Sherrie peered inside, and then announced “The fan has slashed the radiator hose, and it’s leaking. It will need to be replaced.” She located some tools, and began unbolting the hose; not an easy task, because it had been tightened too much. After much effort, she triumphantly held it up, and announced: “I Am Woman.” You see, she had met Merrie Jo at the dress shop, as a customer, and had responded to a sign requesting someone to care for Merrie Jo’s four kids. She got the job, and included caring for her own two, as part of the deal.

Now, Sherrie drove Van to an Auto Parts store in town, and he bought a new hose, plus two pizzas for dinner; obviously we weren’t going anyplace tonight. By this time, Sherrie’s son, Josh, had returned home from work, and he replaced the hose, putting it over the other one, to avoid further slashing.With that chore completed, we all ate pizza, and then looked at her family photo albums, until bedtime.

“I Thought You Were Mad at Me”
“Today is Mom’s birthday, Marquam, and I thought we could all three go see her, but I think she’s mad at me, so could you call and find out, and let me know?”
My son willingly called to talk with Mom at St. Jude’s Convalescent Center, while my stomach was in knots and I thought sure I would pass out. Obviously, Joanie was reliving some past childhood reality involving her mother, with a bottom-line “Bad girl” pronouncement.

The reason for her apprehension: because Joanie instigated my writing a letter and telling Mom that she was upset over Mom no longer taking OPC-3, and “I won’t go back to Oregon, until it is straightened out; a brave conclusion, but not based on reality. For one thing, of course, I would be back to Oregon, and for another thing, Mom wouldn’t be able to resolve the problem; if anything it would send her into another episode, which probably had happened. In any event, I hadn’t heard from her, since writing the letter. So, I figured I was in trouble, and she probably didn’t even want to see me. She’d already had Gail banned from seeing her, because of Gail’s unacceptable behavior (in one of her manic visits), and Mom’s inability to cope with it. However, Gail said that she had visited her grandmother, and cleared up the problem.

Marquam called back and said, “She’s sleeping, but the nurse said she’s doing better. I said, ‘Today’s her birthday, and I have a surprise for her.’ She said, ‘It’s not Gail, is it?’ I said, ‘She’s my sister, and no, it isn’t Gail.’ “
I tried to recover from that information, but decided that it wasn’t my problem, as I said, “So, how about meeting us at Shari’s in Oregon City at noon?”
While saying “Good-bye” to Sherrie, between downpours, I spotted some lovely roses growing in her yard, and asked, “Could I take a few roses to Mom for her birthday?” As I picked the exquisite gold, orange, reddish blossoms, and took a deep sniff, I said, “You know, no place grows roses as fragrant as Oregon.”

We arrived early at Shari’s, and I selected a birthday card at the nearby mall. The front featured a water colored rose, that matched the live ones, on the front; inside it read “I love you,” which is as much a greeting as either Mom or I could cope with (since she didn’t raise me, she always feels intimidated by my loving cards).

Marquam arrived, and mother and son exchanged a big hug. Then Van drove us in Freedom to the Convalescent Hospital. I sent Marquam in first, to get the lay of the land on Mom’s condition. Everyone was in the dining room, so he went in, and then brought her out to the entrance hall. She was so thrilled to see her grandson, but when she looked up and saw me, she almost fainted with excitement.

Obviously she was glad to see me, and I gave her a big hug, and showed her the roses, which is her favorite flower; and Marquam handed her the sugar free chocolates, “I’ve been sick,” she announced, “I had pneumonia.” I’ve seldom known a time when she wasn’t sick, or just getting over being sick. It’s just part of Mom’s life patterns. But, she looked cute in her salmon pink pantsuit, gold shoes and purple necklace.

We walked back to her table, and sat down, as she attempted to finish her liquid diet, and one of the aides arranged her roses in a vase.
“Where’s your food?” Marquam asked, and Mom pointed to her cups.
“Is that because you were sick?” I asked.
She nodded, and then added, “I was in the hospital.”
Of course, I couldn’t resist, “Well, if you had stayed on your OPC-3, you wouldn’t have gotten pneumonia.” She looked blank, so I prodded, “Was it Marilyn who took you off it?”
“No, it wasn’t Marilyn,” she replied, looking guilty.
“Was it you?”
She shook her head “Yes,” so I figured there was no use pursuing the subject. I would ask someone else, later. But, I had a suspicion that it was because of the money. The first bottle was taken from her personal spending money, and she liked to spend it on other items. The fact is that I was going to pay for them, once we had some extra money, but she canceled it; and that ended that. However, once I could talk with the nurse or doctor, I would arrange for her to become a Preferred Customer, and we would pay for the OPC-3.
As we chatted, she said, “I’m sorry I didn’t write to you.”
“I thought you were mad at me,” Joanie replied.
“Never,” Mom responded.
Joanie almost cried in delight, as she gave her mom a big hug, and said, “Thank you.”

I can’t think of anything that could ever be said, or done, that would be more meaningful, than that confirmation, at that time. Something within me shifted, at a cellular level, and a deep inner healing took place.

Van had been outside, and eventually joined us. Mom was in Heaven, but she was tiring, and the staff was ready to clear the tables, so we walked her to her room, and she lay down, but I’d sent Van for the cameras, so she sat up and smiled for pictures; then laid down again.
Marquam needed to leave, in order to go to work, so we hugged and said our “Good-byes” to Mom.
Riding along in Freedom, I said, “I’m sure glad she isn’t mad at me.” And then I asked Marquam, “How do I look, now, compared to before we got here?”
“Relieved.”
Yep, we were out of the woods all right. And it was time to move forward. That night a huge rainbow appeared in the sky, and I knew “The storm is over.”

Chapter 11
A MAZE-ING GRACE

Overcoming Obstacles
I’ve always hated the expression “No pain no gain,” because it’s against my beliefs; I don’t believe it’s necessary to suffer. But, perhaps that’s not reality. I’ve endured pain all my life, though I never gave it a label, such as Fibromyalgia, which is the disease-of-the-day. Though, I must admit, my symptoms do fit the definition.

However, that’s not the subject of this chapter. It’s about overcoming obstacles that may appear to be obstructions to our success. Sometimes, they take the form of a maze that we wander aimlessly through, hoping to finally come to the desired objective; attempting to get Marquam to a meeting evolved into that kind of maze.

It started when I wrote him from Colorado, challenging him to attend three meetings, before we left for Oregon; the purpose of our trip being to assist and support him in building his Business.
The once-a-year District Rally offered a golden opportunity for him to experience top trainers and presenters, but, as fate would have it, he had to work extra time, and couldn’t attend. Okay, so I let it be okay.

I kept praying and affirming Divine Order and Divine Timing; more every day, such as when he missed two other meetings. Finally, it was time for the big event: New Distributors Training, which would give him a professional presentation of the basics; and save us hours of doing the same.

The day before, we’d arranged to meet him for explaining some paperwork, but his pickup alternator went kaput, on the way home from work (the night before), and he had to spend the entire day handling the problem. Furthermore, he didn’t let me know whether or not he planned to go with us to the Training, and he didn’t answer when I called that night.

I went to sleep, and awoke, affirming: Divine Order and Divine Timing. At various times I’d decided that if Marquam wasn’t ready to make the commitment to his business, we’d head on out to the beach, and play along the Oregon and Washington coast all summer; and maybe go to northern California too. The Maze was already in place, and the possibility of a successful business was on the other side.

Who was sabotaging Marquam’s business? I’d already spent two days talking with Van about changing his patterns relating to the business, and I’d been seeing Marquam setting up all kinds of obstacles. So, I finally released it all, and asked God to take over.

In the meantime, Van and I considered our options, and decided a route to the meeting that would by-pass Marquam’s apartment, and planned our time accordingly.
However, the next morning, I felt I’d give it one more chance, and called Marquam. To my surprise, he not only answered, but said he was planning to go to the meeting. By this time, we were getting a late start, so asked him to be waiting by the road. Van slowed down, and Marquam jumped on board. Fun!

We were still a long way from the meeting, but had good directions, and began following them: it was a maze; but we made it, and we were even on time.
But the maze getting there was nothing, compared to the material we had to wend our way through: policies, forms, prices, and a myriad of information. However, when the day was over, Marquam had his signed Certificate, and a major hurdle had been completed.

The Amazing Graces
The Graces — Dottie and Steve — had set a goal: To become Master Coordinators by May 15. But it didn’t happen: too many inner and outer obstacles to be overcome The inner and outer mazes seem unending. And the obstacles seem insurmountable. You cannot keep doing the same thing, and expect different results. So, Dottie and Steve asked themselves, and each other: “What is the thing? What are we resisting? What do we need to give up?”

Both concluded that the main issue was Responsibility; but each had a different version of their issues relating to the subject. And each processed accordingly. In addition to this part of the process, they had taken on two challenges put out by their upline and district. When the deadline had arrived, they were one team, of the 10, who made it.
Bottom-line, when they called, around midnight, June 11th (their time), Dottie shouted: “WE MADE IT! WE’RE MASTER COORDINATORS!”
I let out a hoop, and congratulated them. As she began recounting the maze they had wandered through, while overcoming the insurmountable hurtles, only one explanation worked: “God moved mountains in order for this to happen.”
“Sounds like major energy shifts took place,” I observed, and added, “Not only for you two; but for your downline.”
“Well, yeah,” Dottie shrieked, “Our friend, Steve had said, ‘No way,’ he couldn’t come up with the necessary purchases to accumulate the BV’s, and you guys said, ‘No,’ and we knew that TC couldn’t possibly come up with that amount of BV, so we gave up and let God. Then Steve came up with some extra money and bought his products; and somehow, TC made his amount, and then when you guys okayed your case of OPC-3, it made the difference.”
“Amazing!”

Dead Ends and Detours
It seemed that ever since we’d left Colorado, Van had his foot on the brake and his heels dug in, for some reason, when it came to our business; although he made it to the ECCT, and passed with 100 percent; and he got us where we needed to be for Marquam’s NDT.
But, the money issues were still obstacles, and I insisted it was some form of control; one he had used in the past. Now, it was happening again. And I hated it! This meant I had to be ever vigilant over whatever he was doing that related to money. And, where I had been able to rely on him in money issues, now I wasn’t sure of his decisions, because I didn’t know what criteria they were based on: old patterns, or wise choices?

I only knew that one route would cause us to crash and burn; and the other would lead to success. Hold out and hold back simply doesn’t work in this kind of business; being overly cautious, with the foot on the brake won’t work. It never has; and it never will. All it does is perpetuate the maze of dead ends and detours that lead no place. Yet, I’ve never been able to force him into change, so I continued praying and affirming “Divine Order.”

However, when Dottie and Steve called to announce their good news, and needed to give us information relating to payment of the products that had been ordered by computer, and I detected his “brakes on” tone of voice, I blew sky high. “This is not acceptable!” I shouted, along with some other strong comments. I knew that the inner breakthrough had to blast through the barricades, in order for us to support Marquam, and move forward.

The next morning we both slept in from all the excitement and stress. After all, we had already gone through our own process of getting Marquam to the required meeting, plus going through it, again, ourselves. And we had returned to the Fairgrounds, where it was quiet, and I felt safe (no one kicking us out).

Marquam called to say he would be here around noon, and I offered to make sandwiches, assuming that we would quickly move through lunch, and get to the business-at-hand Finally, at almost 2:00 p.m., Marquam arrived, totally frazzled, “I’ve been driving around for two hours trying to find this place,” he huffed, and then reiterated all the dead ends, detours and wrong roads he’d been on, plus needlessly wasting gas.

We listened to his story, and then I said, “You know, Marquam, this tells me that you are definitely the right person for this business, because you didn’t give up, and you pushed through all the obstacles, and you made it!” I’m not sure he was convinced, but I was. I know that I would have been much more frazzled and upset, had it been me; in fact, we’d already gotten lost trying to find this place, more than once. I was proud of my son, and let him know it.
Of course, since he had to get to work by 4:00 p.m., and had a long way to go, we only had time to eat, and make arrangements for the next day; giving him clearer directions for getting home, and back to the Fairground. Yet, I knew that we had pushed through more obstacles, and everything was in Divine Order.

“All You Have to do is….”
Saturday morning Marquam showed up at 10:30 with the necessary paperwork, and the objective was to complete and send the required Form to Dottie; which must be done by the end of his Quarter.

Marquam began to get the concept: if he didn’t get his Form done right, and on time, everyone in his upline, including us, his sister, Paul and Teresa, and clear up to the top would lose their bonuses.

The magnanimity of the responsibility overwhelmed him, until we reassured him that it’s just part of the business, and everyone goes through this part of the process. Van told him the story shared by one of the Big Timers, who lost $15,000.00, because he goofed on his required Form, and everyone survived. Finally, Marquam began to relax, but you can be sure he learned the lesson: Get your required Form handled early in the Quarter.At first, we didn’t think he would have the minimum sales requirements, but after adding the total of his gifts, he had ample.

The Rose Festival Maze
Dottie and Steve always ask, “What are you willing to give up?” This Saturday, I gave up watching the annual Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade; a tradition I grew up with, and one that usually heralds the end of the rainy season. Sometimes, such as this year, it stops raining in time for a dry parade — four miles long — winding through the streets of Portland; from the Memorial Coliseum, across the Willamette River, and through downtown. But, Marquam was here for his business, and that took precedence, although I did keep the TV on, with the volume off, as he and Van got clarity on the Sales Receipts and Form. But, I often got interrupted, while supporting their meeting, and I missed many of the 29 floats, including the one carrying the Rose Festival Court.

Somehow, I just knew TV would repeat the Parade, later in the day, and I was not disappointed, as I got to see and hear its entirety, and relive memories of the excitement watching many Rose Festival Parades. As the Rose Festival Court passed, I recalled that, like all senior girls, I participated in the Rose Festival Court selection. The first hurtle was walking across the stage at Jefferson High School, where I attended, and speaking our name into a microphone. Through process of elimination, a smaller group of us made it to the next level; and then eliminated into a selected group of ten, which I joined. From there, a smaller group was selected, and then the school princess was voted on by the student body. I’m not sure who judged the other groups. One of the popular senior girls was selected, but I was thrilled to make it as far as I did.

This year’s Parade, the last of the millennium, surpassed itself with spectacular floats, bands and equestrian posse’s. Every float is required to have all surfaces covered with living materials: roses are the most popular, but cotton, pampas grass and seeds are used to create the illusion of water, fur, wood, and other surfaces. Throughout the 2 and 1/2 hour spectacle, a helicopter presented aerial views, as it snaked through the maze-like streets of the city; causing traffic tie-ups, and congestion, as the 500,000 viewers surged into town.
Many of them used the elaborate Light-Rail system that passes by the far end of the Fairgrounds, goes into downtown, under the river, and across the Eastside, all the way to Gresham; all for .55 cents that is good for one-hour and 45 minutes.

MAX: The Amazing Light Rail
Wouldn’t you know, we selected the day the temperature soared to 87 degrees for our Light Rail adventure. But, it was a glorious day, as Joanie and Little Ralph walked several blocks to the station. Van had already studied out the process of buying tickets, when we had taken a walk another time, and the maintenance man, Jeffrey, who just happened to be there (an angel in disguise), had explained everything to us. Now, all Van had to do was follow the directions.
We had no more than completed the process, when the sleek, fast train-like vehicle glided in front of us. The two excited kids climbed on board, through the automatic doors, found seats with a good view, and sat down. Within minutes, a female recorded voice droned, “The doors are now closing, and they silently closed.

Whoosh! We barely adjusted to the speeding bullet, when we reached the next stop, and went through the process that repeats automatically; no attendants, only a conductor at the front. No one even collected tickets, although they do have periodic collectors, which we never saw. This is definitely 21st Century transportation. However, there are a few flaws, such as people trying to run in front, despite closed gates, whistles, and flashing lights. In fact, later in the day, we learned that a young man had been killed, when he ran in front of a Light Rail train, along the same route we rode.

But, no such disaster, for us, as we zoomed along the countryside, stopping briefly, at designated stations, and moving on. Soon we were in the underground tunnel that Jeffrey had described, explaining that we would, on the return trip, take an elevator to the Zoo. But that would come later. For now, we were enthralled with the ride.

Once out of the tunnel, we were in uptown Portland, and within minutes, we passed familiar sights, as Joanie gave Little Ralph the tour: “That large stone building is the First Presbyterian Church, where I was married the first time. Beyond the library block is the Medical Arts Building, where Dad Freeland was a physician for Prudential Life Insurance Co. And across the street is the Herman Apartments, where we lived. I would walk down this street and catch a streetcar to Catlin-Hillside school, which was in the West Hills. It’s moved and become Catlin-Gabel. Actually, when we first lived there, I walked about ten blocks, through the park, to St. Mary’s Academy, though we weren’t Catholic. For some reason, they wanted me to attend a private school, and sometimes I had to stay at the dormitory, which I hated. But then I went to Hillside, and I liked it there, though I had to ride a long ways on the streetcar, and then a cute little bus that went up to the school.”

By this time the Light Rail passed through downtown Portland, and I pointed out Meier & Franks, the department store where we loved to shop, and the area that used to be Farmer’s Market; but Little Ralph was busy taking in all the sights for himself, so I just let my memories flash by, as we passed familiar landmarks, many which had changed, of course.

Soon we were in the area that once was Skid Row, but had been transformed into a fashionable center of restaurants and shops. Little Ralph came to life, when we crossed the bridge, and he hoped to see the Navy and Coast Guard boats that had come to town for Rose Festival Week, but they had already left. Nevertheless, there was a lot to see, as we stopped at the Memorial Coliseum, Rose Quarter, and Convention Center.

And then it was time to get off, and walk through beautiful tree-shaded Hollady Park to the Lloyd Center, America’s original mall. We strolled through Meier & Frank’s second store, and then ate lunch at Ivar’s, a fast-food seafood restaurant in the Food Mart. Fortunately, they accepted credit cards, because Van had started on this adventure with only four dollars cash, which would cover our fare on the Light Rail.

Joanie’s plan was to refuel our cash supply at the ATM, have lunch, and return to the Zoo. But Van had it in his mind to find a supermarket, so he could get more cash, without paying the service charge. This launched into a major upset between us, because there are no supermarkets along this route. So, finally he tried the ATM, but couldn’t get it to work. Of course not, because it wasn’t his intention.

By this time I was so angry, because this more-less-money scenario was a long-standing pattern that set me into rage. I stomped out of the store, with him following, stormed through the park, and boarded the next Light Rail, shouting along the way, “I’m not going to play this game, anymore. We’re going home. It’s impossible to have a good time without cash, and coming from a position of lack, or not-enough.”

We rode in silence, while zipping back across the river and through town, although Van made several comments about the scenery, which I ignored. However, as we neared the Zoo exit, he attempted to dissuade me from by-passing this opportunity for fun, which we hadn’t been having, lately. Joanie, too, wanted to see the Rose Gardens, which were in Washington Park, near the Zoo. So, at the last minute I relented, and we got off, and took the elevator, which quickly deposited us above ground.

We spotted the entrance to the Zoo, but decided to, first, take the shuttle to the Rose Garden. As the brightly painted (with colorful scenes) bus chugged up and around the heavily treed hills, more memories flashed through my mind: of the quaint Kings Heights bus that took us through the hills to Hillside, which was on the other hill, across the canyon, but I often rode this area to visit my friend, Barbara, and we would sometimes walk through Washington Park.

A Maze of Roses
Once at the top of the terraced gardens, the fragrance of roses engulfed us, as everywhere we looked, a sea of colorful roses greeted our eyes; and a musical group played light, lilting music that soothed our ears. What a setting! I kept busy with my camcorder, filming the acres of roses, and between the trees, an open area that overlooked the buildings of Portland, with Mt. Hood faintly visible through the overcast.

Talk about an altered reality; this was it. As we strolled through the maze of roses, soon my shattered nerves, and angry disposition subsided. Despite the near-record heat, we felt comfortable meandering through the roses, smelling their intoxicating aroma, and drinking in their incredible colors: white, yellows, pinks, orange, red, variegated; and all sizes and shapes, from miniatures to climbing trellises. Since this is a rose test garden, you can see roses that you never knew existed, such as the red and white variegated variety. Because roses are my favorite flower, I was in Rose Heaven, for at least an hour, though it would be easy to spend an entire day there.

A Japanese Garden Maze
But, we had more sights to see, so ambled up the steps, past the tennis courts, and into the trees, along the hillside, where we followed a steep, winding path to the Japanese Gardens, which I’d never seen. Again, a perfect place to spend a hot summer afternoon, wandering under the high, protective trees, and a maze of myriad oriental-type shrubs; some trimmed, but mostly natural. Pagodas, shrines and a pavilion highlighted this authentic setting, midst waterfalls, streams and ponds. Rock stepping stones and pathways caused warning signs: “Watch your step.

As we sat to rest in a shady, cool natural garden, we noticed the woven bamboo fencing separating the area, and decided to walk behind it, along a picturesque, almost hidden trail, under the shade trees, and we felt transported to the serene, original Japanese gardens that Van had visited in the Navy many years ago.

The Zoo is a Maze Too
The argument between us had erupted over Van not having cash available to get us through the day. Fortunately, he got to be right, because The Japanese Garden and Zoo, both took credit cards; and the Rose Garden was free, so we were lucky that we could enjoy these activities. In fact, as senior citizens, we only paid 1/2 price; and Van surprised me by requesting the Zoo Train ticket, too.

Keep in mind that we are now getting into the late afternoon, which actually is the hottest part of the day in Portland, but we anticipated that the sun would soon go behind the trees. However, we were delighted when another Guardian Angel, named Michael, driving a golf-cart-type zoo shuttle, offered to drive us to the Zoo Train; mainly because we didn’t know where it was. But, we discovered that it’s a long downhill walk from the Entrance Gate. Furthermore, Michael offered to drive us back up the hill, when we were ready to leave.

In the meantime, we boarded the Zoo Train, thinking we could view the zoo animals, like the San Diego Zoo. But, we soon discovered that it went to the Rose Garden and back, along a narrow track on the mountainside, with towering trees and steep canyons; a cooling experience. On the return trip, we passed by an elephant spraying himself with water, and the caged Birds of Prey, including a buzzard, falcon, and a bald-headed eagle. But that was it on seeing animals from the train.

Joanie had planned on an ice cream cone, and felt disappointed, thinking we didn’t have enough cash. However, Van again, got to be right, when he discovered that they too, took credit cards. So, we stood in line and witnessed another form of animal behavior.

The lady, at the window, requested a waffle cone, to cool her palate this hot afternoon, only to be told “We don’t have any; they’re cleaning the grill, because we’ll be closing in a short time.”
“Okay, then give me a double-scooped sugar cone. Not a kid’s cone, but an adult one.”
“We only have kid’s cone. We can’t put two scoops on the sugar cones; believe me, we’ve tried. And it’s too hot, they’ll melt,” the beleaguered gal replied, obviously sweltering from heat, as she mumbled, “It’s over 100 degrees in here.”
By this time, the equally heated customer, tired from walking in the sun, replied, “I get sugar cones all the time. Please add a second scoop.”
“Okay, we’ll try,” the clerk consented, and passed the order on to her assistant. But, we saw her leave with an oversized single scoop.
“I’ll have yogurt in a cup,” I said, thinking I’d beat the heat problem. And Van ordered a dish of ice cream.
The next guys, cognizant of the situation, also ordered theirs in a dish, making side comments to each other, relating to the incident. We all sat under the shaded table area, when the third fellow triumphantly displayed a large dish of chocolate ice cream, with a sugar cone plopped upside-down on top, along with his piece of pizza, and sat down to savor his goodies.
Soon, a senior citizen couple wandered over with a plate of pizza, and one announced, to whoever would listen, “She gave us the rest of the pizza. Said they were closing and wanted to get rid of it.”
We all chuckled, and continued eating our selections. But Joanie was impatient to get on with the Zoo tour, before it closed. So, she rushed into the penguin display, while Little Ralph stood outside eating his ice cream. Of course, having visited the San Diego Zoo’s penguin display, this was a bit disappointing, but she giggled, as they plunged into the water and gleefully swam around the tank; on top, and below, the water. And one little guy seemed intent on entertaining a group of tots peering through the window, as he splashed around in front of them.
Most of the animals were smarter than the humans, for they were inside the cooled buildings, rather than outside in the heat, which made it nice for our viewing too. Primates are pretty much the same, in any zoo, but we laughed at one who zipped up the pole to a bed, and plopped down on its back, with its feet in the air, and then busied itself counting toes.

On to Africa, a long jaunt downhill, when Michael showed up, and gave us a lift to the entrance; truly a Guardian Angel. Now, we had something to see and film: a lively zebra prancing in his oversized area, and three giraffes in another place. One busied itself reaching for some foliage high up on the bank, outside the pen. But two others paced back and forth, pausing for their pictures, and then around the corner, and back again, as long as Joanie kept filming. Just as we were heading back to find the Alaska Tundra, we heard the announcement that the zoo would be closing in fifteen minutes, so we rushed into the cool building, past the displays, and outside to the natural settings created for the grizzly bears, who were sleeping, upside down; and then found the timber wolves (like Brandon’s new puppy, Sasha). I quickly filmed them walking down the hill, and then we rushed back out the doors and started up the hill.
Who should be coming toward us? Our Guardian Angel, Michael, asking, “Need a lift?”
“I walked over, and said, “We sure do, but we haven’t got any cash to give you a tip.”
“Oh, that doesn’t matter,” he said, “I love this job; they should be paying me. Hop on board.”
We gladly accepted his offer, and I said, “I was thinking about how we could tip you, and I concluded that we could send you a sample of one of our products.” I then launched into a brief explanation about OPC-3.
“Does it stop aging?” He asked.
“As a matter of fact, it does,” I replied, and began explaining about its ability to eliminate free radicals; the cause of disease and aging, and then I handed him a card, and said, “If you’ll write and send me your address, I’ll send you a free sample.”
By this time, he collected another couple, and then deposited us at the gate. “I’ll be expecting to hear from you,” I said, as we waved good-bye. I had a feeling that he wouldn’t follow through, but I did my part to show our appreciation for Michael rescuing us through the zoo maze.
Now, we retraced our tracks to the elevators and quickly descended to the bottom, just in time to rush to the loading train. The sun was setting, as we zipped across the countryside and arrived at the Fairgrounds.
We looked for Jeffrey, our Maintenance Man Guardian Angel, but he was not around, so we walked across the field in the twilight, and returned to our home.

In Mortal Combat
I debated whether or not to include this segment, but decided that it could be useful to someone experiencing a similar life crisis. And it definitely seemed to fit into the topic of dealing with mazes; this one being an inner one, through the maze of one’s mind.

The upheaval had been building for several days, and finally erupted our last day at the Fairgrounds. In retrospect, it must have been inevitable, and surely served some vital step in our growth process, because I’d been praying for Divine Order and Harmony all along; and Van, too, had been praying for Guidance and Answers to his internal Questions. Maybe they came through this experience.

I’m not sure, now, what triggered the emotional altercation, but money had to be the underlying factor. Ultimately, though, the issues go back to our childhood patterns that are still affecting our relationship and our lives, and especially our business. So, I attempted to explain to Van an answer to his question: “What do you see as the pattern, because I don’t see it?”

I’d been hearing an inner explanation, so I verbalized: “It’s about your need to create a project, everything from your Buzzy (peanut butter and honey confection he’d once manufactured) to the most recent one, Freedom’s repairs. Then you get your mom to help with the finances, because that’s your love-relationship with her. The more money she indulges, the more Little Ralph feels she loves you. That’s why you can’t allow yourself to make it financially, but must remain needy. It’s such a covert, deeply imbedded pattern that I doubt if you would ever be able to recognize it, or give it up.”

Of course, as I’ve learned in past spiritual counseling, when the issue is exposed, some kind of inner energy associated with it rebels, because it is losing control, and feels it’s fighting for its life. This can be true with an ego-related issue, or inner child issue, or especially with patterns and addictions.

In this instance, a Diversionary Tactic, or smoke screen, came into play. This can be anything that will take your attention from the real issue; and it can be so very subtle, as well as appearing to be reasonable. And Van is a master at it. He combined a “poor me, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” to “I think I’m a good person.”

This time, I blew up, because I wasn’t buying what he was selling, and I shouted, “You are a piece of work,” and proceeded to call him on his ploys, which only made matters worse. These negative energies do not want to be exposed, because they want to remain in control. It’s almost like an entity that has taken possession of him, and I spoke those words, adding, “You know that TV footage we saw on “Amazing TV, about the exorcism of the negative entity? That’s what we’re dealing with here.”

It’s really frightening when this negative energy takes over, because it’s no longer Van, as I know him. And I’m truly in a life or death situation. I knew there was nothing I could do, but trust my Inner Guidance, and play out the scenario. I can see, now, that it had to be intense and powerful to overthrow the energies, as my anger crescendoed, and I grabbed my coat, purse, and a sweatshirt (in case it got colder), with every intention of walking out the door, while shouting “I can leave here with nothing but the shirt on my back, and I will survive.”

I quickly transferred my lipstick and glasses from my fanny pack into my purse, shaking from the intensity of my anger, and the mortal combat of Van’s negative energies, which were struggling to remain in control. I had no idea how it would end, and pictured myself in some unfamiliar environment, especially with only $5.00, which had been left at home, in my purse the day before. But, I was ready to do what I had to do, and I knew God would take care of me.
I also knew the siege was over, when Van managed to regain control, and spoke words that he would never have spoken, under the control of the negative ego, “I don’t want you to leave.” These are the only words that would have stopped the pattern from playing out, and I knew that the battle was over; whether or not the war with these energies had been won, I wasn’t sure, and it didn’t matter at this time. Van was back, and we could continue with the day.
“Okay, but I want you to be perfectly clear that I could make it on my own.”
“I’m sure you can,” he replied.

I don’t fully understand what happened, but I knew that these were the words of the truce. Indeed, the war had been won. But, I didn’t feel victorious; only trembling and exhausted, as if having truly fought a battle.

The tensions were broken, as the phone rang, and Marquam confirmed our meeting, in less than an hour, at the Fred Meyer’s closer to him. Van went about unhooking, and I prepared the inside, and we departed from the Fairgrounds, where so many kinds of competition are fought and won. Today, another one took place here.

Red Tape, and the Freeway Maze
Somehow, we made it through the meeting with Marquam, mostly because I went into Fred Meyers to leave some pictures to be developed, and spot the location of items we needed to purchase, before moving on. However, the first thing I noticed, when walking inside, caused me to laugh or smile throughout the rest of the expedition. It was a Washington Mutual Bank branch. I went inside and asked if they were the ones that bought out Home Savings. “Yes!” This was our bank, and Van could get the needed cash. Another sign of victory over the negative energies!
When I returned to Freedom, they announced that the Form with the Sales Receipts, was completed. Hooray!

In the meantime, Dottie had called to say that Sherrie would be willing to include them, along with her mailings, in a special envelope, to headquarters, to insure quick and safe delivery by the required time; also, she would double-check the information for accuracy. The only hitch in this arrangement required that we meet her at 4:30 in Oregon City.

When Marquam finished his meeting and left, Van and I went inside to Washington Mutual, where the helpful, young clerk, James, looked up, and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, but we can’t help with your transactions, because of interstate banking rules.”

Van explained that he also wanted to activate my card, but had been told, on the phone, that they needed further information, so James had us take a seat, and another maze began; the process of red tape, being on hold, and other stuff. Finally, he learned that they needed my Social Security number, because I hadn’t been on the original account, and now we had separate numbers for the same account, a new legality, to “protect the card-holder; in case one card got lost, it wouldn’t interfere with the other person using the account.” Somehow, in the paperwork process, we were able to get our cash, so this too, was another victory.
By the time the activating was complete, we were out of time; but I still had to retrieve my pictures, and I needed some groceries, so I zipped around the store completing my shopping, while Van finalized the banking transactions.

When we started Freedom, it was 4:00, and we had to travel 30 miles, through commute traffic, and towns, along several different freeways, to meet Sherrie. Van put the pedal to the metal and, with his good energies now intact, arrived only fifteen minutes late. But Sherrie was waiting, and all went well. In fact, when she meticulously went over the paperwork, she found no mistakes. But, it would still go through Paul or Teresa’s fine-tooth comb, and we would know it was done right.

Riding the Bumper Cars in Your Mind
We pulled into our new home, Trailer Park of Portland, in Tualatin, after closing hours, but I had arranged to pick up the map to our site, and we happily settled down, after a tumultuous day.
The next morning, we were both still exhausted from the previous day’s battle, and I felt guided to have a low-key day. I began reading my spiritual daily reading, and then another inspirational magazine. Again, God never ceases to amaze me. For instance, the topic of this issue dealt with thinking, and I read the articles aloud, which proved to be especially healing to us both, at this particular time. Thank you, God. You never fail us.

One article asked the question, “Are your thoughts playing bumper cars with your mind?” And went on to suggest that it’s possible to become free from the limitation of bumper cars, and enjoy the expansiveness of putting your thoughts in alignment with God. And, it also told how to accomplish this goal.

But the article that spoke to Van took us beyond the concept of “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind,” to the reality that it takes a meaningful experience to bring about the desired changes. In other words, it has to become real on some level, other than just holding good thoughts.
As I reflected on the battle we’d fought and won, I knew that we had both been through such an experience, and on some level, the change had transpired.
The rest of the day was peaceful, bordering on serene, in this quiet setting, as we each did the projects that we wanted to accomplish, without any pressure of time. Van ambled over to the office and signed up and paid for a week, which felt comfortable to know where we would be for another week, in a safe place, with full hookups, including cable. Yeah!

Chapter 12
MARQUAM GOES BACK TO BASICS

Marquam had taken a day off from, seeing us, for other purposes, and we all enjoyed the break from business. But Thursday was another day, and another training process. Because the Training is always on Saturday, and he always works on Saturday, Sherrie offered to present a private session, geared for him, on his day off; at her home.
I wonder how the day would have gone, had we taken Freedom, rather than following my suggestion that we crowd into Marquam’s pickup; definitely a different sequence of events, no doubt; and possibly with much less desirable results.

Deja-vu
As Marquam drove us the distance to Sherrie’s home in the country, he reminded us that his dad had given him the pickup, and he was glad to no longer have monthly payments. However, he lamented the costly repairs, within his last pay period.
I reminded him that we, too, had been having extensive repairs, and while approaching their driveway, I recalled that one episode of repairs had been the broken water hose, while delivering the elk meat to Ed and Sherrie. And again, I felt thankful, and a sense of gratitude that it had happened there, where she had been willing to drive Van into town for parts, and their son, Joshua, who had recently graduated from Auto and Diesel Repair School, in Phoenix, Arizona, had skillfully put it back together.
When we piled out of the pickup, I said, “What’s the steam pouring out of your hood?”
Marquam carefully opened it, as steam erupted in all directions, and he said, “It’s just overheated,” as he and Van looked inside, but it was too hot, so they decided to let it cool, while doing the Training, and add more water, later.

Let the Lessons Begin!
Sherrie had cleaned up her office, replete with a roll-top desk, computer setup, and a large table, where the four of us sat for the session.
Step 1: Attitude and Knowledge: The individual who succeeds simply does what the individual who fails did not do!.”
It’s really that simple. Thomas Edison, Madame Curie, Alexander Graham Bell, or even Bill Gates; all pushed a little harder and went a little further than the rest. They each tried one more time, after repeated failures. And they succeeded.
By lunch time, we all knew a lot more than before we started. Of course, Marquam would need to continue working on these in his own time, as it’s an ongoing process; but she gave him the impetus for getting started.
As we enjoyed a delicious lunch that Sherrie had prepared, I said to Marquam, “Remember, this lunch is not duplicable, but it’s something she’s doing, as a friend. In other words, you would not be expected to provide lunch; everyone is expected to bring their own food, and I did bring some food bars. In most cases, it’s advisable to bring our company’s meal bars; but I don’t have any, as yet. However, I’m working up to buying them in a future order, as I replace other products with our own; that just makes good sense; and it’s duplicable.”
After lunch, Sherrie returned to Step 2: Goals and Goal Statements, because she wanted to spend more time on this essential part of building a business. And again, Marquam was given the assignment to continue and complete the process in his own time.
Steps 3 through 5 repeated information; by the time the training was completed, Marquam felt much more knowledge- able, and ready to move forward.

“But the Pickup was Rarely Driven”
Sherrie had a full evening planned, and was anxious to be on her way, and Marquam, too, had plans for the rest of his day off. However, when he and Van put more water in the radiator, the course of the day changed.

Fortunately, Sherrie’s son, Josh, who had helped with our repairs, arrived home just as we stood there watching the water pour through the bottom and onto the ground. “Oh! Oh!”
Josh looked at the watery mess, and announced, “You need a new water pump!” It wasn’t like there were many options. We were 12 miles from the nearest auto parts, and much further from home. So, again, the Good Samaritans did what had to be done.

First, Josh took off the water pump, and Sherrie called Clark’s Auto Parts to make sure they had the parts. Then, because her daughter, Jennifer, had said the brakes were not okay, when she drove Sherrie’s car into town for mail, Josh okayed her driving his pepped-up Trans Am. I knew this would be the Ride from Hell, so I declined to go along, but Van had no choice, because we had to charge the repairs on our credit card; Marquam had no extra funds, until payday.
I peered under the hood, as Josh chipped away the old gasket, and I said, “I don’t see why this happened; his dad rarely drove this truck; he had another car.”
“That’s part of the problem,” Josh explained, and continued, “When it’s not driven, the gasket becomes brittle and cracks. A vehicle needs to be driven for all the parts to be properly lubricated.”
“Amazing! I didn’t know that,” I said, and listened attentively as he explained the process of the water getting through the water pump and radiator. He spoke with such ease and knowledge, and I was impressed, especially that a 20-year-old would take time to explain this information to an “old lady.”
I had, earlier, asked what tool he would like Van to buy for him, as some reimbursement for his time and effort, especially after a full day at his job, repairing diesel trucks. He’d shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oh, just bring me a hamburger.”

Seems Like Old Times
Marquam and Jennifer got acquainted, and discovered that he had known her, as a child, when Sherrie baby-sat Sam and Merrie Jo’s kids; more ancient history. And then Marquam got absorbed looking at the family photo albums, which brought back memories of when he spent much time with The Novikoff’s, who were friends, neighbors, and business associates with his sister, Dottie, and Steve. In fact, during part of that time, Marquam had lived with his sister’s family, handling housework, cooking and baby-sitting, while they worked for several doors away, at Sam and Merrie Joe’s, where the business was conducted for the I Am Woman dress shops.
An interminable amount of time had passed, when the phone rang, and it was Sherrie, wanting to speak with Josh. Seems they were stalled in the middle of the busy highway, at commute time; she’d found his cell phone in the car, and wanted to know what to do about the car not starting. “Oh it does that,” he said casually, “just tinker with the starter, it’ll get going.”

Much more time elapsed. Too much. Finally, Ed’s sister called to say she was coming out, and agreed to look for them along the way; and, at least, bring the parts so Josh could fix the pump. Of course, Marquam was having a fit worrying about getting his repairs handled.

Eventually, a friend of Jennifer’s, and her young daughter, arrived; but no one else; and she hadn’t seen a stalled white car. Then Jerry, arrived, but she hadn’t seen them, either. Finally, we heard the white Trans Am, and then Sherrie and Van arrived carrying bags of groceries. He’d paid for food for everyone. What a great guy! Now, that’s more like it. Not only that, he had filled Josh’s gas tank. Okay, now I felt better.

They explained that Ed had been coming home from work, when Sherrie spotted him and flagged him down. Then he pulled them out of the road and onto a parking lot. While Van and Sherrie were buying groceries, Ed turned on the key, and the car easily started.
The guy’s all went outside to fix the water pump, while Sherrie prepared the food: fish sticks, potato salad, and Pillsbury’s biscuits.
This should be the end of the story, right? Wrong!

Second Time Around
I’m not sure when it happened; and I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard it, but someone said, “The water pump doesn’t work; it’s the wrong one!” I only know that it was dark; and that doesn’t happen, until after 9:30 p.m.; long after the auto parts businesses are closed. But, Ed announced that one in Southeast Portland (about 40 miles away) stayed open 24 hours, so he called and confirmed that they had the right parts.

This time, Ed drove the car with the bad brakes, announcing that he wanted to check them out, anyway. Van went along, because he had the credit card. Of course, this meant the other parts must sometime be returned, and credited to our account.

In the meantime, Jennifer’s baby, Kendra, cried a lot, and Aunt Jerry or 14-year-old Cousin Holly, or Grandma Sherrie held her; and sometimes Mom Jennifer changed or nursed her. Josh, who had to get up around 5:30, went to bed, and Marquam worried about who would complete the water pump repair; and I reassured him that Ed was fully capable. And the evening droned on. Sometime along the line, Jerry and her kids left, and around 11:30 Jennifer and Kendra went to their apartment, where the barn used to be, to join her husband, Dustin, who had gone to bed hours earlier.

Sherrie and I had been drowsy and ready to zonk, but when the guys finally returned safe and sound, and Marquam left to join them, we came to life, and indulged in some good old-fashioned girl talk.

Somewhere, in the wee small hours, with the help of an extension cord and shop light, the proper water pump got properly installed, we said our thank you and good-byes, and sped into the night. Though Marquam and I were so tired that we were in an altered state, Van entertained us with his account of the evenings events, including Ed’s realization that a part was missing in time to buy it; and his missing the fact that a bolt was not included, and then taking one out of his table-saw; not to mention that he’d tested the brakes, and concluded they would make it okay.
Marquam left us at our doorstep, and I prayed that he would stay awake long enough to get home, and then we fell into bed at 2:30 a.m.

Why Did that Happen?
The next morning, we slept in, but when I finally awoke, I asked God, “Why did all that happen?”
The explanation made sense, and I hope I can do it justice: It was a healing opportunity for Marquam on a deep inner level. You see, he loves family, and he felt devastated when his family (Dottie, Steve, and the girls) moved to California, and then his extended family, The Novikoff’s, moved away; and they had all lived in the area we went through on our way to Sherrie’s, which brought up these memories and feelings for him, as did seeing their pictures.

And then Sherrie did the Training, and fixed us meals, and got his truck part; and the men helped with the repairs; and Jennifer shared the pictures and memories of the family having been together. And Van and I handled the financial matters. So, here we have an experience of love, support and nurturing: a healing experience, and one that would forever leave an imprint of association with the business. Truly, God knows what He’s doing, and my affirmation of Divine Order, Timing, Harmony and Balance was being fulfilled.
Oh, I’ll admit that I don’t understand the reason for being given the wrong part the first time, unless we could chalk it off as human error; but I think there was more to it. Possibly the opportunity for Sherrie and I to share some time, and for me to tell her about my Changing Patterns booklet and The Money Game that I shared in another chapter here. I can only trust God that it, too, was Divine Order.

But, one thing I know for sure, this day had been Marquam’s exposure to more than one form of Basics: from the business to the Spiritual Basics of love, nurturing, belonging and acceptance. I’m convinced that, on some level, a deep inner healing took place, and one that would, ultimately, affect his business.

Chapter 13
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR DASH?

It’s Your Life
The dash is that period of time listed on your tombstone, between your birth and death: Born: 1900 — Died: 2000; if you should live so long. In other words, it’s your life.
Perhaps you will waste it focusing on the dots. They are the focal points that take your attention from the overall picture of life. And they get in the way of accomplishing our goals or fulfilling our purpose. Most of us have dots composed of our fears, whether conscious or unconscious, that become blocks to success. Others have blocks relating to money issues, which can actually relate to the fears. And the same is true for our relationship hang-ups.

The reality of this subject was brought home to us at a Training conducted by a successful author, and professional motivational speaker, focusing on relationships: personal, family and business. He not only lives nearby, in Washington, but he’s also in our business.
The timeliness of this meeting is incredible, and it never ceases to amaze me how God always fulfills our wants and needs in His perfect time.

For several days, Van and I had been at a stalemate, arguing over my opinion of his status quo. I kept trying to motivate him to do something to enhance our financial situation, but everything I said only escalated the estrangement, and became part of the problem, rather than the solution. Finally, I silently prayed: “Help!”
And it came, in the form of this speaker. From the beginning, his presentation sounded as if it were designed for Van; not that I couldn’t, or didn’t, benefit. But his emphasis for Step #1, Attitudes, continued to hammer home the reality that “If we keep doing the same thing, we’re going to get the same results;” so change your attitude, which he defined as: “Who you are, what you can do, and your natural abilities being turned into capabilities.”
He said, “You control your attitude; you’re responsible for it; you can change it.

Because his focus is Relationships, the speaker discussed four types:
1. How you relate with yourself.
2. How you relate to your sponsor, authority figures, leaders, and people in higher positions; your upward relationships.
3. How you relate with your downline, and people in lower positions; your downward relationships.
4. How you relate with your peers: socially, such as your involvement in community, clubs, or organizations and groups.

Referring to our relationship with ourselves, he said, “How you relate with yourself, you project out to others, and then get it back, and send out the vibes.”
I’ve been telling Van this for years, in different words, “You project onto me your subconscious attitude toward your mother, which causes me to behave like your mom; and I’m not your mom, I’m your wife.” In other words, “what doesn’t change persists.” He could leave me, start a new relationship with another woman, and she’d soon become his mother too.
The speaker spoke about basing our relationships with our upline and downline on unconditional love: giving without asking or expecting anything in exchange; and definitely not from a position of coercion or fear motivation.
He then discussed the concept of living above the line, or below the line. Of course, love is above the line; fear is below the line. Fear motivation is an emotional response to a belief; adding that recognizing fear puts you above the line.

Four Fear Motivators, and One More
And then the speaker launched into the part that seemed most valuable to me, at this time, especially for Van’s benefit; because it explained his behavior in words that he couldn’t deny; about the childhood shadows relating to fear, saying “Fears are projections, and they are not real; they exist only in our imagination. Fears are false; love is real.

He listed some childhood fears, and their affects in our adult lives, such as: fear of the dark — or water, is fear of the unknown, and relates to the need for stability. These people can’t do commission sales; they need a dependable salary that they can count on. Fear of high places relate to responsibility. And fear of ambiguity; indistinct or having more than one meaning; not clear. This fear also relates to trust verses lying, which is an excuse for failure. It can be intentional or covert, such as “I don’t have time.” Actually, it’s just a misuse of time; everyone has equal time, and most people waste 80% of their time. Or, as we know, “If you want something done, ask a busy person; they know how to properly use time.”
We all have these fears, at some time, and to be successful, we must recognize and conquer the fear, as it comes up, before it grabs (stops) us. An expansion of the fears were listed (notice the acronym letters FEAR for each label) in the following motivations; four below the line, and one above the line:

1. Fatalist: Fear is based on the fear of failure, and is associated with the fear of responsibility. It projects: “Take care of me.” Its basis is to stay alive without getting involved. The prisons, institutions, mental hospitals, convalescent homes or hospitals support people with these fears, whether or not they recognize or believe it. They want to be taken care of, and that is their motivation; they feel it’s their right, and they can list their reasons why the world owes it to them. People with these fears require security.
When applying this information to our business, the approach would be the security aspect, which is what appealed to both Van and me, at the time, because our fears revolve around the need for security; and the need to be taken care of. Therefore, the prospect of having our upline place BV and people under us hooked us. Of course, by the time I realized there was much more to it, we were already involved and committed.

2. Exasperator: Fear is based on the fear of loss of position or power or strength. They want to position themselves above everyone else. They will contradict, or argue about everything, until they win, then they are okay. They like to wear uniforms (military, police, security guards), and they like positions or symbols of power, such as pickups with big wheels, earthmovers; and badges of authority, or whistles, batons, handcuffs. They are hard workers and they need recognition, such as rewards and awards. They are good salespeople, but need balance, as they relish one-upsmanship — better than. They like titles, and need to be the Boss, CEO, or in charge. They have a great sense of humor, but it’s caustic, put-down. The approach to them is: “How would you like to be president of your own business?” They will work their way to the top, for the titles, and give you lots of BV’s. They’re good in your business, but you must train them properly, so they know what’s going on. And you must let them win and be right.

3. Appraiser (Perfectionist): Fears ambiguity, and lack of structure. They will correct you for the slightest detail, bluntly and without diplomacy; not to put you down, but to support you by being informed. When working with them, be matter of fact, give details. As presenters, they will bore their prospect with too many details. And they are always right! When you sign them up, let them fill out the contract, then point to the line and say, “Sign here.” They are normally not good prospects, but they are supportive of their spouse, whom they expect to be the front-runner.
This explanation described Van to a T, and I could see why he expected me to make all the contacts and handle everything; then tell him what part to do, and he would do it.

4. Relater: Fears ridicule or rejection. They love to make presentations, but not sell, and they have difficulty in closing, as they can’t stand the “No’s.” They want approval, praise compliments and reassurance. Their feelings are easily hurt and they tend to pout. They are people oriented. Just tell them, “We have lots of meetings, conventions, and trainings. They need accountability, as they don’t stay on track, or handle the detail stuff.

Of course, here is my biography, and I’ve written enough about it, so won’t expound here. However, I will bottom-line by saying: when you put Van’s fears, and mine, together, we complement each other’s weaknesses and strengths, and therefore make a good team; if we can just learn to work together.

The answer was given in #5 in this category of motivations: Love, which relates to productivity and relationships. Their philosophy: Don’t waste time with unproductive things.” They focus on achievements, “What can I give?” They don’t have to prove anything. Their emotions don’t dictate their lives. They have overcome the four fears. For instance, if their feelings are hurt, they see it as unproductive and get over it. They are not swayed by opinions. They are people flexible and thing perfectionists. These are the people you want to sign-up for your business, if you want it to be productive and successful, without the hassle of working them through their fears and attitude adjustments.

Of course, pattern changes is my expertise, so I attract people whom I can fix. That would be a good pattern to change, starting with my relationship with Van. In other words, as I really endeavor to do this, I need to accept him, as he is; focus on his positives, and overlook the negatives. I can start by saying that both he, and I, live much of our lives from the Love Motivations, except when we are ready to move to a higher level, and need to overcome those inner demons that still lurk in the shadows.

The seminar concluded with the message the Love Relater says to the Fear Motivators:

F — “Follow me, and I’ll take care of it.”
E — “I can count on you, #1.”
A — “These are the bottom-line facts.”
R — “You are OK.”

The bottom-line of his seminar is to recognize your fear, and get on top of it. And, if you are going to have a worthwhile dash, follow the advice, “I’d rather get up, and fail, than fail to get up.”

What is Your Purpose?
I totally agree with the speaker’s discussion about Goals: they are your reason for getting up in the morning. They are stepping stones toward your Purpose, and not the destination. Your purpose is what you want to live on, after your death. It’s what lies beyond the point of your death. In explanation of your purpose, you must answer the question: “When your life story is written, what did your life count for?” In other words, it’s the dash between the date of your birth and date of your death. What did you do? It’s the intangibles, rather than the tangibles.
I thought about my purpose, and concluded, “It’s to follow God’s Guidance.” For sure, that is intangible, and lives long after I’ve left the planet. So far, it seems to be working quite well, so I must continue to trust it.

An “Above the Line” Day
During the meeting, Sherrie, our new friend, had served as receptionist, and then sat behind us, and had lunch with us in Freedom (I warmed some chicken). We had already been greeted by Paul, and at one point, his wife, Teresa, came up and gave me a big hug, and said, “I’m glad you’re here.” And she introduced us to the speaker as the parents of their best friends (Steve and Dottie). So my Relater fear was basking in the nurturing and acceptance, and I felt good.

After the meeting, we stopped in the middle of the street and gasped, as we saw the splendor of Mt. Hood towering in the distance, framed by groves of trees on each side of the opening.
From there, we drove to visit my mom. She was doing really good, and glad to see me, which boosted my Relater fear to above the line; at least for the day, until something set it below the line, again.

But this day provided lots of Love motivation, and I felt happy. I’d been determined to find out why Mom quit her OPC-3, so quizzed Margaret, the Activities Director, who took a special interest in Mom. She said that Mom’s blood sugar shot way up, and they couldn’t figure out why, so started eliminating things one-by-one; nothing changed, until they stopped the OPC-3, and then her blood sugar normalized. So, my assumption, that it had to do with money, was incorrect.
Also, I learned from Margaret that all the worrying I’d done (re my letter complaining about her no longer taking OPC-3) about upsetting Mom was a waste of time and energy, because Margaret didn’t read that part to her, so she’d never seen it. That was a mixed blessing: relief that I had vented my feelings, without upsetting her, and frustration that I’d worried about it for so long. And, the entire episode was simply further fuel for the Relater Fear, which had kept me below the line.

I decided not to waste much time agonizing over the fact that my mother had to be the exception, as far as people who have received healing benefits from OPC-3. All I could do was release her to fulfill her own destiny with God. She would be well, or sick, or die accordingly, without any intervention from me. And the result would be her dash; and mine, as it related to her.

The Dash Called Linda
This seemed to be my time for clearing up past communications, as I checked my e-mail at the RV Park office (a nice convenience). To my delight, Lynne had responded to my honest communication relating to her complaints about our company’s delay with her Preferred Customer Application. She said that she valued our friendship too much to let it end like that, so she apologized, explaining that she had been upset over several issues in her life. And I must say, she handled the communication with the best of Love Motivation.

Now, the ball was back in my park, and I proceeded to respond accordingly, for I treasured Lynne’s Unconditional Love, and I really didn’t want to lose her friendship, either.

Van Adds a Line to His Dash
We had left off our argument, Thursday, with the agreement that Van should come up with a solution to our current financial problem by Sunday, and if he didn’t, I would. I wasn’t sure what mine would be, because it usually revolves around somebody leaving. In other words, based on my childhood shadows, which set up the fears, the only solution would be abandonment. And I still hadn’t resolved that negative pattern.

I’d forgotten that Sunday was Father’s Day, but when I became aware of the special day, I decided to drop the subject. However, Van doesn’t acknowledge himself as a father, although he has a son and daughter that he never sees; by their choice (with the influence of their mother), so he chose to enter into another round of discussion on the subject of our finances.

He came up with several options: Find an RV Park that takes American Express. Sell Freedom. Stretch the finances to last, until after July 3rd, when our next Social Security check arrives.
We discussed the pros and cons, such as: we haven’t found an RV Park that takes American Express, and if so, how would we be able to pay off the debt? Or, “If we sell Freedom, then what?” No answers. Likewise, stretching our finances till July 3rd. Then what?
After awhile, I said, “I didn’t hear anything in your options about selling products or building the business.”
“Well, I thought that we are building the business.”
“Yes, but we haven’t brought in any money from what we’re doing. We need to take this further.”
Blank!
Bottom-line: we decided to stretch the money, until July 3rd, and deal with it then. Perhaps, ultimately, unless our business brings in the desired income, the answer may be to sell Freedom, and see where we are at that time. This, of course, would mean going back to Colorado, at some point, so Steve could sell the RV. In the meantime, we would trust God to bring about His will, in His time.
Somehow, this process seemed to be complete, the lessons learned, and it was time to move on to another phase of our lives.

A Dash for Life
Speaking of the dash between birth and death: my birthday morning began with Van singing “Happy Birthday,” which he always does for everyone, and continues for several days afterward. It’s a good thing he did something, because I was already upset that he had made an appointment for 10:00 a.m. for more repairs; and we had to drive all the way back to Aloha. But, I was determined that this would be a good day to celebrate my birth, and I had told God, “Okay, I’m going to let You plan my birthday. I’d felt Guided to arrange for Marquam to meet us at the RV Service Department to discuss more business, and then he could join us for my birthday lunch.
While at the RV repairs, I asked a local about a good place for lunch, and was told “Newport Bay,” a nearby restaurant, and one that I had seen advertised on TV, and thought I’d like to go to.
In the meantime, when Marquam joined us at the RV service department, his pickup was still leaking, so that occupied his attention, until Van suggested that he tighten a clamp, and it worked temporarily.
We were already reeling from the shock of a simple lube being raised, from the $50.00 estimate, to $150.00; which included the rear end and some other costs, plus the generator still didn’t work, and Van wanted them to check it. Heaven knows how high this repair could soar.

I’d been attempting to work with Marquam on a schedule for our remaining time in this area, but I made the mistake of mentioning that his Transfer Buy would be pulled the next day, and, since he was still adjusting his finances, from his unexpected repairs, I thought I’d be helpful, as I said, “You can leave the money you were going to pay us back, for the water pump parts, in the bank to cover the Transfer Buy, and repay us next paycheck.”

Oh, well, I might as well have stabbed him with a hot poker, judging by the pained expression on his face, so I asked, “Do you have money in the bank to cover it?”

“No!” And he went over his litany of explanations about his finances, which I’d rather not hear again, because it threw me into a codependency state of feeling I must rescue him, which I’d always done in the past. But, instead, I changed the pattern.

“I know the feeling,” I said, and added, “We are in the same predicament, and trying to decide if we’ll have to sell our RV. But, of course, that won’t really solve the problem anymore than your problem was solved by moving into a less expensive place, and replacing your monthly pickup payments with the freebie your dad gave you. As you can see, you still have money shortages.”
He looked totally hopeless, as he replied, “Yeah, I know.”

By this time, Van had returned, and we were ready to leave, as he announced, “It only cost $105.00, and he adjusted the generator, so it’s working great.” Well, at least that was the good news, but I was already picturing Marquam losing his business.
At least, I could change another pattern: thinking it was all up to me to solve the problem, so, while he was following us to the restaurant, I called Dottie, “Mayday, Mayday,” I groaned, and told her the situation, asking, “What’s the alternative, if he doesn’t have the money in the bank.”
She explained the dreaded horror scenario of his Transfer Buy going on “Warning,” and other equally devastating repercussions, such as no one putting BV under him. Bottom-line, “Don’t let it happen!”

We had reached the point where I’d asked Marquam to wait, so he could follow us to the restaurant, but I realized he wasn’t there, and the distance was much further than I’d expected, so I got off the phone. The further we drove, the more I felt panic, because we’d lost Marquam, and there was no way to find him. Somehow, I knew it was my fault. I should have handled it differently. Suddenly Joanie broke into uncontrollable crying, which escalated into near hysteria, as she shouted, “Take me home; take me home. I can’t deal with this!”
Van desperately attempted to solve the immediate problem: finding the restaurant, and/or finding Marquam. But Joanie was inconsolable, “Take me home!”
He decided to turn into a Texaco station to ask directions to the restaurant, which wouldn’t solve the problem, in Joanie’s mind, because Marquam would never be able to find us, so she continued crying. Even after Van said, “Here he is, he’s right behind us,” and went out to tell him he would get directions to the restaurant, then returned and said, “He stopped at the bank, and checked his account; he has some money in it, and he can get the rest.”
But, the news didn’t help, and Joanie kept crying, as Marquam peered inside and asked, “Are you okay?”
I jumped up and ran into the bathroom, until I finally stopped crying. Van returned and announced, “We’re only a block from the restaurant. It’s straight ahead on this side street.”
As we walked into the restaurant, Marquam said, “I have some money in the bank, and I can get enough for the Transfer Buy, if that’s why you were upset.” Then he added, “I definitely will take care of it. I don’t want to mess up this business.”
His words seemed to console Joanie, and she selected fried Alaska razor clams for her special lunch to celebrate her birth.

In retrospect, it was a good birthday. I can see, now, that Joanie had reached overload, between worrying about our finances, and the possibility of selling our home/transportation, and having nothing; plus Marquam’s possibility of losing his business, and we would no longer be activated. The threats of loss triggered a flashback to childhood, when lack of money ultimately took away my home and family.
I don’t recall that speaker discussing Fear of Loss, but it’s definitely a motivating factor in the dash called my life.

Chapter 14
A NEW DAY IS DAWNING

A Simple Focus
“As God Guides,” is such a great purpose, and it never steers me wrong, when I listen and follow. I needed confirmation from our leaders to remind me that signing up Preferred Customers is the focus of our business, and it’s working for us; now that the catalogues finally got sent to our Customers. Furthermore, I felt strong Guidance to suggest to Marquam that this would be a simple program for him to get started with the names on his Prospect List. He could use the two Application Forms he already has, and we would give him a catalog to show his prospects, until they receive theirs in the mail. Then, they could call the 800# to place their order, and pay with a credit card. Simple!

When Marquam arrived for his daily training, I presented the idea, and his face lit up, and a weight seemed to lift, as he said, “This way I could get started, while learning more about the business and saving some money to invest in products.”
“Right, and you don’t have to make out Sales Receipts, or worry about shipping. The company does it all for you, and you still get your bonuses, as the customers place their orders; and you will already have designated where you want them placed. Your only expense is to send in $10.00 with each Application. Of course, the company divides the profit by taking 50 percent, but it’s worth it; they do all the work, and they even do your promotion, with special offers and discounts.”
Van added, “You may want to leave your first profit checks in your company account to pay for future sign ups, rather than having them send you the check. It makes it easier.”
“Yeah, I like that. But what if my profit gets to be over $100.00?”
“You have an option, each quarter, whether to have your profit remain in your account, or a check sent,” Van explained.
“Allright!”
We showed him the Preferred Customer information in his Career Manual, for future reference, and talked about more details, but he was anxious to get started, so used my phone to call his first two prospects, and he was out the door.

Within an hour, the phone rang, and he had me talk with his first Preferred Customer! She had already used some samples he had previously given her, and was looking forward to ordering more. Needless to say, Marquam was elated. And so were we; in fact, I rang a little bell that I use for special accomplishments; and he knew he had been congratulated.
I felt a great sense of relief that he had made it through this first barrier, and I knew the doors would now continue to open.
Later, he called again to announce: “I have a second Preferred Customer, and another Prospect who is interested in the business. I’ll make an appointment with her for Thursday, so you guys can make the presentation. What would be a good time?”
We arranged the details, and I later said to Van, “Now, that’s how this business is supposed to work!”

Rekindling Relationships
During my birth month, I had been noticing an intensity of an undesirable pattern that projects itself into everything I attempt to accomplish in regard to relationships, whether personal, business or career. I’ve asked God, countless times, to remove it, but the pattern persists, and continues to surface from deeper levels.

In addition, I was spending the month of June amongst my family and longtime friends, which further triggered the pattern. And the possibility of talking about our business to family and friends highly fueled the fire, which kept igniting, as I anticipated rekindling these relationships.
I’ve already mentioned the first instance where the pattern had been almost debilitating, and that was my mother. This was a good example of the projection: something I said or did caused them to reject, or not want, me; but fortunately, Margaret had saved me from that disaster. However, I would still like to be able to voice my true feelings to my mother, and know that she would always love me. That’s why her response, “Never” to my statement, “I thought you were mad at me,” was so important; and had been greatly diminished when I learned that she hadn’t even heard my letter. Oh well, I’m sure it worked out for the best.

The second instance of this pattern involved my friend, Lynne, and my unconscious testing that friendship by speaking my truth. This actually gave me more reassurance (than with Mom), because my honest communication of feelings was delivered and received — by e-mail. And, although it took some time, the friendship withstood the test. Yeah!

The next relationship involved my long-lost cousin, Marilyn, who had reentered my life when she had a Foster Care Home, and invited Mom to come from California and stay there. It worked fine, until Marilyn’s diabetes caused her to go blind, and Mom was shuffled around to various places, and finally settled at St. Jude.

The last time we were in town, I’d told Marilyn about OPC-3, and also her mom, my Aunt Charlotte, who was beginning to have Alzheimer’s symptoms. I’d been delighted to think this product would help my two relatives. But they quit taking it, and I now dreaded facing the resolution of that problem.

Actually, I had considered not even seeing them, but I knew “The best way out is always through,” so I called her brother, John , who is also my cousin, and asked, “Is your offer still good for us to park on your property?”
I held my breath, still anticipating that I was not wanted, but he said, “I don’t see any reason why not,” and I breathed a sigh of relief, as we arranged to stay there, after our business meeting with Marquam’s prospect (they were in the same area).
In the meantime, I felt urged to call my longtime friend, Sondra, and just in time; she was getting ready to leave town, in their new trailer, for a trip to Chicago. As always, I find it difficult to reconnect with my friends, because I’m afraid that if I mention our business, they’ll think I’m only trying to sell them something. The truth is that I like to share the products and, in the possibility that they might be helpful or useful. It’s part of my nature to want to help, support and encourage; it’s why I’m a minister. Now, I’m not spiritually ministering, but it’s still being supportive, and I am being God guided, for that is my purpose.
Although busy getting ready for their travels, Sondra arranged to stop and visit, as they live nearby. While on the phone, she had asked about Marquam, whom she’s known, since his birth; and, in the past, he had helped with their landscaping. Of course, my reply included his involvement in our business, and she had even asked more about our products. However, the phone cut off, so I didn’t elaborate.
While attempting to work out a time we could meet, Sondra had invited us to park Freedom at their place, so we could visit; but we were committed to being in another area for that time. However, I considered asking if we could park there, while they were away, and seeing them when they return. This would be another option to resolve our financial dilemma.

More Doors Open
In retrospect, I could see that doors were beginning to open, and I was pushing through my negative pattern that inhibited my relationships. But, during a morning meditation, I could see how all-encompassing this pattern had become, and I felt tears well up, as I got a full view of the devastation and limitation it caused, including my relationship with Van. I could see that it had become so intense, during my birth month, that I unconsciously tried to blow-up our relationship, because that’s the way the pattern was to go. Fortunately, we survived by changing the pattern — both Van’s and mine.

But, I was still projecting the pattern in my other relationships, so, again, I asked God to remove the negative energies of the pattern, permanently and completely. I even paused to see if I would feel that I would lose my identity, if this pattern were removed, as this can be a threat to the ego, whose job is to protect one’s identity. However, in my mind’s eye, I do not see myself as a victim, but as victorious. So, I rejoiced and gave thanks that God had already removed the negative energies; and I felt ready to move onward.

I had no more than begun my daily writing, when the phone rang. It was Cousin John (not my natural mom’s nephew; but Mom Freeland’s nephew), and he wanted to ask me about some personal matters. Without thinking, I popped out a question that had been passing through my mind, but I had been ignoring.

I said, “I’m looking for options to resolve our present financial situation, due to the repairs. One is to sell the RV, although we do enjoy this lifestyle. The other was the possibility of staying in your Laguna Hills home, while you’re traveling. What do you think?”
Again, the reply, “I don’t see why not. I could sign a Guest Pass for the house and the RV parking, and of course, I’d want to be able to stay when I’m in the area. I would only charge you the fees. Let me see what I can work out.”
“Okay, that would be great. It would give us another option than selling our RV, while we build our business.”
After we hung up, I explained the idea to Van, and added, “You know, there is a lot of history between John and me, and it’s not all good. Although we grew up together, and are somewhat like brother and sister, he always felt the need for one-upsmanship, because I was a snob, and never hesitated to give the impression that I was better than him. I think that’s the reason he married me, and then ignored me.
In any event, it’s difficult for me to ask him to “take care of me,” but I need to move beyond that attitude, because it’s an ego projection. In fact, I would enjoy living in his home, and had even considered the possibility of buying a home there, after visiting him last winter. So, I guess it’s a door that God is opening, and one that I would be glad to walk through, if it works out that way.

“You Really Like Me”
Marquam’s business prospect postponed our presentation, until after our return, so we stopped to visit Mom, on our way to the Warren Family Homestead, and were invited to lunch. Mom and I agreed that the last meal we had there was terrible, and she complained, “They’ve all been terrible, lately,” But this one was delightful: BBQ chicken, baked potato and apple pie. Mom and I chatted a few hours, and after a pleasant visit, we left, and wended our way, through the ever-present Oregon rain, into the strawberry countryside, near Sandy, where there is a view of Mt. Hood, on a clear day; but not today.

As we neared the family home, I had to remind myself that everything was okay, and I didn’t need to have the usual knot in my stomach, because of the old pattern. I could relate with Sally Field, when given an Academy Award, and she gushed, midst tears of joy, “You Really Like Me.” Of course, I lived in constant fear that I would say or do something that would cause them not to want me, anymore. But, I had asked God to remove that pattern, and I looked forward to this visit with a new reality.

We parked Freedom on the grassy area along the driveway on the acreage, and dashed, through the rain, to the path between this Cousin John’s country home and Aunt Charlotte’s mobile home. I went into confusion, as to which place to announce our arrival. After all, it was John’s home, and he had given us permission to park here, but that gnawing “unwanted” tape tried to play off. I decided to knock on the door at Aunt Charlotte’s, where Marilyn also lives; but no answer, so I went to John’s, and told the fear tape, “No!” He came to the door, with a black patch over his eye, and this began the conversation, which revealed his explanation, “I have double-vision.” He also announced that his wife, Donna, had taken the gals shopping, and he invited us inside. But, they arrived, so we all walked out to the car and were hugged and welcomed. We were thankful that the rain had subsided to a drizzle, while carrying food packages along the path to the mobile home.

We chatted throughout the afternoon, and John came over for awhile too, and asked about our travels, while sharing some of his visits to the same places. As usual, it felt good to be with my mother’s family, whom I hadn’t seen, until recent years. Marilyn cooked dinner for us, because, as they explained, “that’s her job.” But Aunt Charlotte assisted, although her job is doing the dishes. When dinner was served, John returned to his home, and we ate dinner. Afterward, I helped Aunt Charlotte with the dishes, and we visited awhile longer, and then returned to our home, during another respite in the rain.
It had been a pleasant day, and I felt warm and accepted, as I drifted off to sleep in the quiet countryside.

How Can I say “Thank You?”
The next morning, as I said my prayers, I asked God to heal Marilyn’s diabetes related symptoms, especially the sores on her legs, and her eyes. And also, I prayed about Aunt Charlotte’s ongoing Alzheimers disease and John’s double-vision. Feeling grateful for this respite with my family, I asked God what we could do to say “Thank you.”

And the answer came, “Give Marilyn and Aunt Charlotte a large bottle of OPC-3; and also one to John.” At first I was apprehensive about the idea, because Marilyn had stopped taking it, once before. But, now I understood more about its healing effects for diabetes, and I had a written testimonial by a Preferred Customer and his recovery, so I said, “Okay, God, just give me the words to say.” I was a bit scared about approaching John on the subject, and I didn’t know anything about its effect on double-vision. But, it would be a gift, and he could do what he wanted with it.

Part of the problem, when Marilyn first took OPC-3 had been the availability, but now we had the Preferred Customer Program, and God had made it clear to me to have them fill in the Application, so they could reorder at their convenience.

I gathered a bottle of OPC-3, some literature, and the Application Forms and headed to the mobile home. The words were given to me, as I made the presentation of my gift, and Marilyn gladly accepted, saying she would try it first, and then Charlotte could buy some later. They both felt that John wouldn’t accept the gift, but he came over to visit, and I made the presentation to him; and he too, gladly accepted. I was delighted that my “Thank you,” had been accepted, but mostly I was happy that they could be relieved of their respective health challenges. I felt a great sense of love, and I silently said, “Thank you,” to God for the great idea.

“When the Saints Come Marching In”
I looked forward to our visit with Uncle Russ, and Donna drove Aunt Charlotte, Van and me to see him in the convalescent home. He was totally blind, as a result of his advanced diabetes, and his blood pressure was too high, and his body was ailing from several strokes; but he still had a good spirit and best of all, he was still alive.

When we arrived, he was in the dining room for an activity: singing spiritual songs, accompanied by recorded music. Having been a minister most of his life, he loved the hymns, and his voice rang out with the joy of the Lord, as he sang the familiar songs. But, the Director soon pushed his wheelchair toward us, and we all went to his room for our visit. He talked about many things, including a recent field trip when they went by bus to a fishing pond, and he caught five trout. He added. “Several days later we went to a special room, and they cooked the trout for us, and we ate them.”

I loved Uncle Russ’s unique voice, which I could identify any place, and I could listen to him for hours. But, eventually, I asked him to play his harmonica, and he gladly obliged. To my surprise, rather than a spiritual song, he started with “Home on the Range,” which was Dad Freeland’s favorite song, and tears sprung to my eyes, as I felt Dad’s presence in the room. I knew he had been responsible for this song, as a message to me; and I cherished the moment.
Then Uncle Russ launched into “When the Saints Come Marching In,” and they sure were all around us this day. He kept playing, and I requested “Jesus Loves Me,” and “In the Garden,” which he did, as we sang along.
All too soon, it was time to leave, but I promised him, “I’ll come back the first Tuesday, when you and Aunt Charlotte and Marilyn have your musical gathering.”

When Life Gives You Leftovers: Make a Feast
When we returned from seeing Uncle Russ, Aunt Charlotte rummaged through their refrigerator, setting out containers and saying, “We’ll have leftovers for lunch.” Two white boxes offered someone’s uneaten restaurant leftover ham and hash browns, so I offered Van the ham and Joanie added warmed-over veggies and grated cheese for a delightful feast. But, sometime during the meal, I began to feel uneasy, as I muttered aloud, “I wonder if Marilyn was saving these for a special reason. Aunt Charlotte didn’t seem to know; her memory loss had dropped that bit of information.

Later in the day, Marilyn, who was out with her adult daughter, Molly, called Aunt Charlotte, and let out a screech when she heard we’d eaten her leftovers. Aunt Charlotte just kept laughing, as she reported that Marilyn had said to Molly, “They ate our leftovers.”When they returned, she said, “Molly thought maybe you guys were kidding about eating our leftovers.”
“No,” we ate them,” I said, somewhat remorsefully, but not beating myself up over it.
“Well, how could you eat someone else’s leftovers; they could be full of germs?”
“Oh, I didn’t think of that,” I said quite honestly, while wondering why we selected those items, and realizing that it was Joanie; and she really didn’t think too far into the subject.
“Well, it’s done now,” Marilyn mumbled, and added, “I was going to use the ham for scallop potatoes, and Molly had planned to have the hash browns, which she mixed with her leftover eggs, for her breakfast.” She was shaking her head, as she again said, “What if someone had Aides or Hepatitis?”
“Well, I’ll just have to trust God to protect us from anything like that,” I replied.

I tried to be light about the incident, but it really bothered me, especially since I was trying to get along with my newfound family. So, the next day, when we went to Sandy, with John, and his wife, Donna, and Aunt Charlotte for breakfast in town, at Verna’s, where Marilyn and Molly had eaten, I requested a side order of ham and hash browns, which were placed in the square leftover boxes. Aunt Charlotte protested, “You don’t have to do that. It was really my fault.”
“I know,” I replied, “but I feel better about it, now.”
I dutifully placed the white boxes in the refrigerator, and heaved a sigh of relief. “Okay, now that’s settled.

Marilyn had stayed home to fix salads for a barbecue that she’d planned for that evening, but she had finished her preparations and joined with her mom, who played the piano, to sing some favorite songs. Then she played her Omnichord, a musical instrument, and accompanied herself with her favorites from the sixties, including some Stuart Hamblyn pieces, as she told us about having sung professionally in her younger days, and meeting with him, and also Conrad Twitty.
That evening, we again feasted; this time on her delicious cooking. The weather had even cooperated so she could use her fancy BBQer, without getting rained on; although it was cloudy and cool, and we ate inside. Her macaroni salad is one-of-a-kind, with black olives, stuffed green olives and tiny shrimp added to the usual ingredients: a meal in itself, but she also served a delicious potato salad and a green pea salad with cheese and black olives. Joanie was in Heaven, as she chomped on the BBQ chicken with a Teriyaki Sauce, and muttered “This is the best tasting chicken I’ve eaten, since we raised our own at Hot Springs.” And the strawberry shortcake, made with berries from down the road, in this Strawberry Capital, was outstanding. Truly a feast; and it wasn’t even a holiday.

Later, Marilyn went with Molly to spend the night, and took her ham and Molly’s hash browns along, much to my relief.
The next day we ate leftovers; and this time it was sanctioned by Marilyn. Again, the salads and chicken were a feast, and we enjoyed the leftovers, without any negative repercussions.

A Perfect Sunday
After lunch, Aunt Charlotte played the piano, which she does to exercise her mind, as well as her fingers: “Part of my brain is dead, but I want to keep the rest of it working,” she explained.
The cat, stretched out on the couch, ignored the canaries in their cage, who refused to sing, other than a few twitters of accompaniment to the piano. Van had gone to Freedom to run the generator, and I enjoyed the peaceful Sunday afternoon, reminiscent of my childhood at Hot Springs, when Mom Freeland would play the piano and we would all sing. I had grown up with music, but was not musically inclined, unfortunately. But, I enjoyed listening.

Later, we all three went for a walk on this clear day, and we could see majestic, snow-covered Mt. Hood towering in the sky to the east, above the berry fields. Between the scattered houses and trees, we could see across a green, tree spotted valley to the west. And daises bloomed along the side of the road, which prompted Aunt Charlotte to pick a bouquet, on our return.
In the evening, we watched a movie filmed in Alaska, about teenage kids searching for their father, who had crashed in a plane; and featuring a polar bear cub, who helped with the rescue, when not cavorting in the snow, or swimming, or romping along the shoreline and over the mountains; a truly delightful Disney presentation.
This enjoyable day ended our visit with my mom’s family, and we would be moving on the next day.

Chapter 15
A DAY WITH HEIDI

The Columbia River Gorge
Our Oregon trip is never complete, until we visit my granddaughter, Heidi (Gail’s daughter), in Hood River, along the scenic Columbia River. This area is borderline, between the rainy Pacific Northwest, and the dry Central Oregon climate; and it gets the best of both worlds, plus (in some places) a view of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, across the river in Washington. Once known as “The Apple Capital of the World,” it’s been renamed, “The Wind Surfing Capital,” and competes only with Hawaii for this honor.

Summer times are crowded and busy, with tourists and wind surfers, but we park at Wal-Mart, during our visit, and Heidi drives us around. This time, she selected one day off, between her three-days (10:00 a.m.) a week of college and four days a month doing payroll for Mt. Hood Meadows, now closed for the summer season. She’d spent the weekend in Bend, with her fiancée’ Randy, who as Western coach for the US Ski Team, was conducting a camp at Mt. Batchelor.
Our day with Heidi began by her taking us to Columbia Gorge Inn, a beautiful old, but carefully maintained hotel overlooking the river and the gorge, with a picturesque waterfall that cascaded down the cliffs to the river; and colorful flowers in the meticulously landscaped gardens. The inside, too, was picture perfect exquisite with bouquets of flowers and old-time artwork.
Such an enjoyable stop, but this was only the beginning of our day. Next, we stopped by Heidi’s charming home, with hardwood floors cozy fireplace, and a view of the Columbia River and Mt. Adams from her kitchen and dining room. Van sat the box of dishes down that we’d brought from Colorado, and she quickly looked at the completion of the set I’d passed along from my dad’s mom (her great-grandmother), and said, “Thank you; now, we’ll have a complete set of good dishes.”
We quickly put together some sandwiches and a picnic lunch (for later), and then stopped by the Post Office so we could collect our forwarded mail; which I saved to read, until later; too much to see and do, now.

Hood River Valley and Apple Orchards
Even if I could find the words to describe Hood River Valley, it wouldn’t capture the experience. Majestic snow-covered Mt. Hood towers in the distance, over the miles of green orchards (the apples aren’t big enough to notice, yet, in June), and you can visualize the juicy red fruit that will laden the trees at harvest. The words convey the picture, but they miss the depth perceptions and the peaceful energies exuding from the scene.

In the distance, the light green meadows accented by dark evergreens form a homespun patchwork effect. The pastoral scene is highlighted by family farms with the farmhouse, barn, and cattle grazing in the pastures.
Closer and closer we come toward the mountain, until it’s finally obstructed by the forested foothills, as Heidi describes her weekly drive along this 30-mile to work, including herds of deer along the road, and single eagles soaring with the air currents. We gasp as the rapids cascade over the rocks, with their cold run-off from the snow.
Then, we turn onto an off-road that winds up the hill, and around the turn we’re faced by giant snowbanks unwilling to give way to summer’s warmth.

Mt. Hood Meadows Face-Lift
Heidi parked and we followed her inside to the office where she prepares the payroll (on working days). We met her co-workers, as she doled out sandwiches and samples of cookies. One lady said, “Usually this hillside (outside the window) is covered with spring flowers this time of year,” but a glacier-like snowbank greeted our gaze.
Heidi’s former roommate, Tom, appeared, and received his sandwich, as she asked, “Where can we picnic around here?”
“There’s no place outside, because of the construction work, but you can go into the lodge and sit at the tables in The Finish Line Cafe,” Tom replied.
We followed Heidi around the massive piles of earth that had been removed to make room for the future lodge addition, and then we peered into the gaping hole, as hard hat construction workers moved about doing their jobs. Obviously, the busy winter scene of skiers had been replaced by busy workmen.

At first Mt. Hood towered above the ski lodge, but disappeared, as we neared the building. However, once inside, dodging more workers, we trudged up several flights of stairs into the Finish Line Cafe, now abandoned with upside down chairs and dusty tables. But, we spread out our lunch in full view of Mt. Hood, now looking less elegant, as we could see the brownish snow from the dusty digging. Nevertheless, it was a glorious spot for a picnic, and we enjoyed being on the Inside Circle, after closing to the public, and I said to Heidi, “I guess it’s because I lived at Kah-nee-ta that I love the feeling of still being there, after everyone has gone home.”

A Glimpse of Lost Lake
Returning from Mt. Hood Meadows, Heidi took another side road that wandered through the forest and hills, seemingly forever, but not really that far, until we reached secluded Lost Lake, a clear mirroring lake that I’d heard about and seen pictures of, but never seen. One could rent canoes or rowboats or paddle boats, but we’d planned a full day, so we simply walked a ways down the path, along the lake, attempting to see the famous scene of Mt. Hood beyond Lost Lake, captured in pictures, but we didn’t have time to walk that far or rent a boat, so we saved it for another day.
However, we circled the campground loop, and were surprised that it was nearly empty, while making plans to return for a lengthy stay in late July.

The Mystical Fidel’s in Bingen
The first time we visited Heidi, in Hood River, she asked, “I’m going to take you to dinner; do you prefer Mexican, Chinese or American?”
“Is it good Mexican?” I asked.
“It’s Fidel’s,” she replied nonchalantly.
“Like the famous Fidel’s in Carlsbad, where we loved to eat?”
“Yep, that’s the one.”
“In Hood River?”
“Well, no, it’s across the river, in Bingen, Washington,” she replied, and added, “But I want to show you where I’m living, and it’s near there.”
“Okay, let’s go for it,” I replied, like I was suddenly thrust into a Twilight Zone. I just couldn’t grasp the idea of Fidel’s in Bingen.
After visiting the house where she rented a room from Tom, her co-worker at Mt. Hood Meadows, we went to dinner at Fidel’s, and I was even more astounded, because it looked almost identical to the famous restaurant in Carlsbad. In fact, Fidel’s son, Fidel, Jr. managed the place; Heidi had worked for him, and they were good friends. In fact, he even sat at our table and chatted.
So to me, Fidel’s in Bingen, Washington, is a mystical place, and Joanie loves to eat there every trip. Only this time, Heidi added another twist to the mystical quality by telling me that Fidel is a Distributor in Market America. And he had been having a business meeting here, during our last trip, while we were eating with Heidi and Randy. She was supposed to attend, but chose to eat dinner with us, instead.

Now, we were both in a quandary, because she was interested in some of our products, but she didn’t know who to buy them from, so I told her that the question had been answered at one of our training’s, “The buyer can purchase products, or sign up, with whomever he/she chooses.”
Heidi decided that she wanted to support her grandmother, because she had asked Fidel for more information about a water filter, and he hadn’t given it to her. I’d showed her the options in our Mall Talk magazine, and later gave her a ten-page flyer on the subject.
We crossed over the long toll bridge across the Columbia River, and enjoyed a typical delicious Fidel’s Mexican dinner: I’d selected a Crab Enchilada dinner, Van had Carnita, and Heidi ordered her favorite, Machaca, plus several appetizers.
During dinner, as Fidel waited on us, I asked him where the meetings were in the area. He said they were in The Dalles (about 30 miles from Hood River), and he repeated what I had told Heidi, “We help each other out, and she would be welcome to the meetings.” I love the consistency of this business.

“Business Can be Fun”
We’d enjoyed a lovely day with Heidi, and I had given her a catalog and other information, so the next morning, on her way to college, she stopped by our motor home and purchased a large bottle of OPC-3, which I offered at wholesale price, as a “Thank You,” again, as Guided by my Inner Manager; and she took a Preferred Customer Application Card for when she reorders.
As she was driving from the Wal-Mart parking lot, my cell phone rang, and it was Dottie and Steve checking in. I gave them a report of our latest business; and while talking, another call came in. It was Dick’s wife, from Creative Exhaust in Redmond, wanting to purchase a large bottle of OPC-3.
“We’ll be there this afternoon,” I replied, “and I can give you a bottle then.” I explained that our radiator was leaking, and we would be returning to Redmond, where we had it repaired, for completing the project.

Then I got back with Dottie and Steve with the “hot off the press” announcement; and received their congratulations, while Van drove Freedom out of the parking lot, and continued our journey along the Columbia River Gorge, on our way to Redmond. I love this business.

Chapter 16
WHAT IS THE INEVITABLE?

When we were at Aunt Charlotte’s, she gave me her Daily Reading booklet, mentioned earlier, and I had been pondering the words she read aloud to Uncle Russ, “I am willing to cooperate with the inevitable.”
“What is the inevitable?” I asked myself and God, during my meditations. “Is it returning to Redmond, because our radiator still leaked and Marv’s Radiator guarantees his work? Or stopping back at Creative Exhaust to hand deliver Dick’s bottle of OPC-3? Or saying “Goodbye” to Gail, as she departed on her two-week vacation to visit her daughter, Christina, in Florida? Or perhaps being parked on Wal-Mart’s lot. Maybe the inevitable Guided us away from Portland, during another week of rain, which culminated in a 5.3 earthquake.
But then, again, I had to ask, “Why must Van and I go through these relapses that cause us such misery and stress? And how do we move through and beyond?

My tolerance level for dealing with his Silas Marner Complex had lessened, and when I noticed his energies changing and the symptoms recurring, my reactions triggered. But, I said to myself, “I can’t go through this again, and I reverted to my “I’ve gotta get outta here,” syndrome.
However, we made it through one day, as I focused on correspondence, and we scurried around town on errands. But the next morning, I again brought my questions about the inevitable to God, as I reflected on the recent events, since leaving Hood River.

We’d decided to follow the Columbia River to Biggs Junction, which brought us out of The Gorge, and into the brown rolling hills of Northern-Central Oregon. As we past Celilo Falls, near The Dalles, now buried under water from the dam, I remembered pictures of the Indians spearfishing for salmon from a platform, a livelihood that had ceased to exist, and I wondered, “Was that disruptive transition inevitable?” Apparently!

Reconnecting with Barbara
And later, as we drove through the little town of Moro, near my friend, Barbara’s home and wheat ranch, I wished that we could have spent some time together, but she had other plans, and I assumed that too, must have been inevitable, but why? I consoled myself with remembering our pleasant phone conversation the night before, from Hood River, recalling our school days at Catlin, a private school where she and I were somewhat misfits, because our parents weren’t in the social whirl. Thank goodness!
Barbara said, “I attended a recent reunion, but was definitely given the impression, ‘I don’t belong.’”
“I know that I don’t belong; after all, I didn’t even graduate from there. However, they keep sending me their mailings, despite the fact I asked to be removed from the Mailing List, as it costs extra money to have the catalogues forwarded.”
“Of course, they want you to send money for their fund-raising projects,” Barbara replied, in her wry humor. Because she still has contact with some of our classmates, she updated me on their activities; but most of her conversation revolved around her own activities, such as judging at Fairs, and the ongoing fate of wheat ranchers, dependent on the whims of the weather. “We’re having a drought, now, and the wheat is dying for lack of water,” she reported.
“Now, I suppose the price of wheat will go up, but you have subsidies, don’t you?”
“Not any more, and the prices have already gone up, thanks to Clinton.”
“It’s amazing,” I responded, “but everywhere we go; in every walk of life, we hear injustices and hardships due to the government taking over our lives, or influencing our lifestyle, and yet, people still support him. I don’t get it.”
“Not me,” she replied caustically.

Now, driving through the wheat fields, I remembered being a bridesmaid for the exotic, dark-haired teenager with flashing brown eyes, who married Les, a chiropractic student, soon after graduation. But, it must have been one of those inevitable shifts of fate when he decided to become a wheat rancher, working his dad’s spread near Moro. We’d only seen each other once, at the ranch, during the years, because our lives went in different directions; but we always sent Christmas cards, and I enjoyed the pictures of her family growing from babies into adults, and then marrying and raising their own kids. At least I could understand that inevitable progression, with the passing of time.

A Stroll through Old Shaniko
However, at Shaniko, a restored western town, we stepped back in time, as we sauntered along the wooden sidewalks, and into the old hotel with its elegant grace: a massive wooden staircase, circular settee, and freestanding solid oak front desk; and, of course, the deer antlers on the wall, along with pictures of the old days. Even two of the upstairs rooms were open to view, and we could feel the influence of yesteryears energies, as we strolled along the hallway and peeked into the rooms.

But, Joanie’s mind was on food, and we walked from the lobby into the old-fashioned cafe, where we enjoyed modern food, topped off with delicious homemade apple pie.
Afterward, I wandered into the Gift Shop and, again, felt transported to my childhood, as I saw sets of our colorful “Fiesta” dishes like Mom Freeland’s set, and many old-time mementos, including a replica (like mine) of a covered wagon. I wondered where I’d gotten mine, and what happened to it; maybe in a museum someplace.

Second Time Around
Our stay in Shaniko was short, as we had two appointments in Redmond: Drop off the OPC-3 with Dick, and take Freedom back to Marv’s Radiator Shop. By the time we got to town, it was already 4:00 p.m. so I rushed into Dick’s and handed him the OPC-3, but he hadn’t communicated with his wife, Kathy, since our phone conversations, and didn’t know her plans, so we would return the next day.

Rick, who owns Marv’s, was waiting for us, and went right to work tightening and completing the radiator project, as part of his “Guaranteed Work.”
In the meantime, I had called Gail, only to discover that she had cut her finger, while opening a can, and had a tetanus shot, which caused an allergic reaction, and she “Almost didn’t make it.” In fact, she could barely talk, and had to return to bed. But she had said, “You can park in front.”
I had no idea how long the repair would take, so when it was done, around six, I was in confusion, because I didn’t know whether or not to go to Gail’s. Joanie had reverted to dealing with her mom’s mental illness, so I decided to get some needed groceries. And we finally arrived at Gail’s around eight. Again, I didn’t know whether to go inside, or what.
About that time, she drove by in her car, and went into the parking area behind her apartment. I still didn’t know what to do, but grabbed the garbage that needed emptying, and headed across the parking lot to the trash bin. Gail waved, and I did too, and then ambled over to her back door, and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Oh, sure,” like nothing was wrong, and added, “I waited and waited, but I just had to go to the store. What took you so long?”
Now, the pattern was complete: confusion, don’t know what to do, whatever I did was wrong, and now I’m bawled out; and whatever the outcome, it’s all my fault. Will the cycle ever end? Is it inevitable to repeat forever?
At first, I couldn’t account for the elapsed time, and muttered about the repairs and shopping, as Gail busied herself putting away her purchases.
When her Mama Cat, Ebony, went by, Gail said, “She’s about to pop with her kittens. Sandy will take care of the cats, while I’m gone.”
“Are you leaving Thursday or Friday?” I asked.
“I don’t know; I have a lot to do; maybe Friday.”

The apartment was filled with boxes and piles of clothes, as she explained, “These are left over from my garage sale, and I’m going to have another one when I return. I have some clothes for you; come into the bedroom.”
She started handing me outfits to try on, and we went through the selected clothes, as she explained, “I was going to give these to you, but I didn’t know where to send them. Besides, it would have cost a fortune to mail them, so I’m glad you are here.”
We were both exhausted from the “shopping marathon,” so I said “Goodnight,” and went home with my sacks of clothes.

In a Flurry of Hyped Energy
We’d arranged to get together for more clothes the next morning at 10:00, so I rearranged my limited clothes space, taking out the winter wardrobe and storing it under the bed, while replacing with Gail’s contribution.
Finally, at ten o’ clock, I went around to the parking lot, and saw her car was packed, with the doors open. Inside the apartment, Gail was scurrying about with the last minute details, before departing.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Nothing, I just got ready, and I’m leaving,” she said. You can stay as long as you want.” She opened the refrigerator, and said, “I made some carrot juice you can have,” and then she handed me a baggie with three hard-boiled eggs and some cooked potatoes, and said, “I was going to make potato salad, but I changed the pattern, you can make your own. I’m doing the same with Sandy” (her neighbor), “and Andrean” (her friend in Portland, where she would stay, until leaving for Florida).
Still recovering from the shock of her abrupt departure, I said, “Wow that was really a pattern change. Good for you; it uncomplicated your day, no doubt.”
By now, she had zipped into the living room, while searching through a pile of clothes and mumbling, “I can’t find my white pedal pushers.” Then she pointed to another pile on the rocking chair, and said, “There are some more clothes for you, and some for Grandma Val,” and vanished into the bedroom.
Still giving instructions, she returned with her white pedal pushers, and held them up,”Aren’t these cute? Henry (her 77something friend) bought them for me at the beach.”
Van wandered in, and I handed him the pile of clothes to take to Freedom, as Gail grabbed her last bags and purse, took off her key and handed it to me, “Here, leave it on the key rack by the door, when you leave.” Then she paused and opened the cupboards, “You can use any of this food you want. Help yourself.”
She was out the door and putting things into her car. Then backed out and gave me a hug. In a flurry of hyped energy, she got into her car, backed out, waved, and was gone.

Now What?
Okay, so where was I? And what was I doing? And what am I going to do next? I felt exhausted from Gail’s hyped energy; although she insisted she wasn’t manic. You could have fooled me; it’s hard to tell when she’s excited or manic, but I’ll take her word for it.
We’d planned to do our laundry, while here, so I gathered the clothes and put them into the machine, and made potato salad, while Van took a shower at Gail’s. As I busied myself with projects, such as preparing a letter to a friend, who was also a Preferred Customer, and completed the laundry, I could feel an underlying uneasiness. I realized that I am uncomfortable in someone else’s home, especially when they aren’t there. I think it’s the Responsibility Factor.
For one thing, she’d left the dishes in the sink, and I didn’t know if I should wash them, or leave them for Sandy, who had been paid to take care of things, while Gail was away. I didn’t want to interfere, or interject into something that Gail had already handled. Some Mom’s would jump right in and clean the place up, but Gail had scolded me, in the past, for my so-called codependency, which I had thought was simply being a thoughtful, kind, generous human being: a Mom, in other words. So, I hesitated to get too involved, but I was confused.
I knew that my reactions related to Joanie not knowing what to do when told: “Take care of your Mommy,” so I tried to change this pattern by focusing on my own business at hand. For instance, we did errands: stopped by Dick’s and Van delivered the OPC-3 and was paid, and he mailed our letters at the nearby Post Office.
Van needed something from Wal-Mart, and I continued with business projects. In fact, I felt compelled to remain there, perhaps for the night, just to change energies, and get some letters written. Van spent the time reading and relaxing.

A Knock on the Door
We both jumped with a start, and Van opened the door to find a pleasant, seventy- something gentleman, who began asking questions about our RV. It seemed he was interested in perhaps buying one, and this was his research.
They chatted awhile, and somehow, this seemed more than a random happening. Soon Van invited the man to sit inside and continue the visit, and then I joined the conversation. At some point, he talked about his desire to retire and travel, but mentioned his health being a factor. I almost said, “You have knocked on the right door,” but decided to let the rapport continue, as he talked about his adult kids, and other matters.

Finally, the time seemed right, and I began talking about our products and the business, with Van adding a few words, when appropriate. Lloyd said, “I’m looking for an investment with a good income and I came to life, because I knew God had sent him to our door. In fact, Lloyd too mentioned the possibility of God’s intervention in Guiding him to us. However, it was getting late, and he needed to drive to Prineville, a nearby town where he lived. But, we left him with literature and tapes and a catalogue, and exchanged business cards; with the promise that we would get together, again, for a business presentation.

He explained that they would be going to Portland for the Fourth holiday, and wouldn’t be available. However, he would be in Portland, again, later in the month, and we would arrange for him to attend a Second Look, and other meetings. Or, we would certainly return to Redmond.
After Lloyd left, I no longer felt we needed to remain here; our purpose had been fulfilled. It was time to return to Gail’s for the night, and then we would decide, or be Guided, what to do next.

Getting on with God’s Business
Van was already up the next morning, when I awoke, and the energies were jangled. Nothing was going smoothly, and everything he was doing got on my nerves. Somehow, I made it through my meditation, and then he went for his shower, and I got busy on the computer, as I was being Guided to prepare my monthly newsletter to send by e-mail, and also respond to the messages I had received when I checked my e-mail at Heidi’s.

Then, I answered Jerry Pitre’s letter, which had arrived in our forwarded mail in Hood River.
I asked Van to scan a page into my computer, but he hadn’t learned how to do it, so studied the manual awhile, and then I turned the computer over to him. He usually likes to learn and conquer new computer projects, however, he couldn’t get this one working right, and we had errands, so stopped.

Is This Inevitable, or What?
But, I had more correspondence to write, which I did while watching the Portland news and weather report: more rain there, but it was still sunny, though windy here, so we felt that we were in the right place.

As the news report was ending, someone called the station to say they had felt an earthquake; then several others called in. Within minutes, they were into a full-fledged “Breaking News” mode. We watched, fascinated at the extensive range of this tremor, with reports from Cannon Beach at the coast, to the Canadian border, including several calling from the epicenter, in Washington, telling of a freight-train sound, and objects falling from shelves, in some cases. A Rite-Aide store, near the epicenter, had to close, due to tiles falling from the roof and products bouncing off the shelves.

Even though I’ve lived in California, I don’t like earthquakes; not only from the danger, but they cause me physical discomfort, and it messes up my equilibrium, so I was thankful that we had been spared from this inevitable shakeup, which had even been felt in Hood River.
Furthermore, the weather report had shown pictures of the very ski slope we had seen at Mt. Hood Meadows, several days earlier, while enjoying our picnic lunch with Heidi on that sunny day. Only this picture was gray, and it was snowing — a lot. In fact, if we had returned to Portland, we would have gone through the snow, as we passed along Mt. Hood. Thank you, God, for sparing us the inevitable.

God’s Love is “The Inevitable”
The next morning, I again pondered about the inevitable, during my meditation. And I thought about a recent Daily Reading: “My purpose is to express God’s love.” Isn’t this really the only inevitable consequences worth our attention? Is anything else really that important?
As I brought Van’s behavior into my meditation, I focused on seeing him through the eyes of love, and I expanded my affirmation: “My purpose is to see and express only God’s love. A tough assignment, but the inevitable solution and answer to all our problems and questions.
I concluded that this was the lesson I’m to learn from my relationship with Van; and when I learn and apply it, we will experience harmony and prosperity.

Chapter 17
LET FREEDOM RING

The Hometown Parade
We awoke to the unmistakable sounds of horses whinnies behind our RV, and we knew the July 4th Parade would soon begin. In fact, the starting place was the next block, and when we walked outside, the decorated horses and riders were patiently waiting, and the young Parade Queen was perched on the back of a red convertible. Cars and floats were getting into position, as we walked along the miniature flag-bedecked street and turned the corner.
Neighbors, with their pets and kids, were lining the street, but we walked another block to the main street (Highway 97, southbound), which would soon have traffic detoured to a side street, in order to watch the participants pass one-at-a-time. The full-sized flags, placed close together, waved in the breeze between the waiting viewers, who were chatting amiably in the morning sun. A red pickup truck had pulled into a driveway so its passengers could sit in the back and comfortably watch the parade; and a red-haired lady with two lab dogs on a leash plopped into a chair beside us.
“Your dogs should be in the parade,” I commented, looking at the jaunty neckerchiefs tied around the two canines.
“What would they be called?” the owner asked.
“ Black and White,” I quickly responded, looking at one black and other off-white retrievers, both wagging their tails and excited about all the activity.
From our vantage point, we could see more of the parade had gathered across the main street, and a big flatbed truck waited in place to carry George Washington at his desk and also chopping down an apple tree, and the most impressive float featured a giant eagle and other decorations trimmed in papier-mâché.
Soon the police car pulled into place and slowly rolled down the street, and then the D.A.R.E. car began the parade, followed by the American Legion marchers carrying flags. Baton twirlers and horseback riders moved right along, and skateboarders holding onto ropes behind a truck-pulled boat added a new touch. Then a long line of antique and classic cars filed by, interspersed with the floats. An old-time horse drawn postal wagon and an old-time fire engine added more history, but all too soon the big, modern fire trucks came into view, followed by the cleanup truck. And the Redmond July 4th parade was over. The only thing missing was the marching bands, but no one seemed to mind, and many headed out to the Fairgrounds for more celebration.
But we walked back down the street and watched the horses return to their trailers, as their riders began to remove the decorations. And then we loaded into Freedom and Van drove us to Burger King for our holiday feast. And we certainly weren’t alone; many families had the same idea.

Hollywood’s Extravaganza
However, not as many chose to attend Star Wars: Episode 1, for their entertainment, and we enjoyed an uncrowded viewing of this epic movie at the local theater, which seemed appropriate for Independence Day, especially the giant parade and celebration, after the wars. Yeah!
And, despite the wars, the movie imparted a message of peace and freedom.

On a Clear Day
On the way to the movie theater, we could see the snow-covered mountains of the Cascade Range, capped in clouds, but Mt. Hood was definitely clearing, with no signs of rain, so we decided to head back to the Portland area.
Back through Madras, and up to the mesa, where we could see the changing cloud patterns over the mountains, bringing them more clearly into view, and then back down into the Deschutes River Valley, across the river, and past the Warm Springs Agency, where I first lived with Mom and Dad Freeland in the white house across the cattle-guard on the north edge of town; across from the turnoff to Kah-nee-ta. Then back up onto the mesa with a view of the route that we had taken last time (through Simnasho and Mt. Hood), now closer and almost clear of clouds. Finally, we drove through the timber, and, of course, a stop in Government Camp for a huckleberry ice cream cone. But, a dark cloud had appeared, and it was quite cold. Yet, we were surprised to learn that it had snowed there, earlier in the day. As we left town, we were wary of the teenagers setting off fireworks along the highway, but we forged through, and wended our way slowly down the mountain, catching glimpses of Mt. Hood’s gleaming white cover, between the trees.
We pulled into The Warren Homestead in time for the Grand Finale to our day.

Fireworks and Band Music
At eight o’ clock I turned on our TV and settled down for an evening at the Washington July 4th Celebration, which I always enjoy as a conclusion to our Independence Day Celebration, wherever we may be.
Barry Boswick Hosted the event and Kenny G opened, accompanying the Star Spangled Banner, also sung by a choir. The show continued with The Temptations and Nell Carter and other entertainers. But my favorite part was Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “It’s a Wonderful World.” And, of course, the Symphony Orchestra played some traditional marches, including The Stars and Stripes Forever. Then the Grand Finale: Massive fireworks accompanied by The 1812 Overture, with real explosions for the canon.

Local Fireworks Too!
When the Celebration was over, I went inside and chatted with Marilyn and Aunt Charlotte awhile, but we were interrupted with the sound of local fireworks, so we watched a few displays, over the trees, and then I returned to Freedom.

Van was watching the Vancouver, Washington, fireworks display, “the largest west of the Mississippi, and I enjoyed more festivities — for an hour.
In the meantime, various neighbors continued shooting their rockets, and we could see them across the fields and over the rooftops far into the night. Not the usual annoying bombardment, but periodic displays of rockets “bursting in air.”

Under the Old Apple Tree
On Monday, the Declared Holiday, Mother Nature blessed vacationers, and other Northwesterners, such as ourselves, with a glorious warm day, which forced us from our respective mobile home and RV, into the cooling outdoor breeze, under the old apple tree.
And then John strolled outside, from his next door home, and joined us. It felt good to be with Aunt Charlotte, Marilyn, and John doing nothing; just being, chatting, and enjoying the beauty of the day, with Mt. Hood, again, towering above the berry fields.
Donna, John’s wife, had gone to Rainier to join their family for the Fourth, but John’s double-vision bothered him, and he had stayed home to mow the lawn, which he had done earlier, and then relax, which he did while chatting under the old apple tree.

Although I basked in the joy of being at the Warren Homestead, with this family, I briefly thought about past gatherings, and remembered that, in recent years, we’d spent them alone. In fact, last year we had been parked on a huge RV parking area at a former Amusement Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, while awaiting further repairs on our steps. Other than a few sparklers and fireworks, the only activity was watching the Washington DC Celebration on TV. But this year we were with family, like so many others celebrating the Independence of America.

“God Be With Us, Till We Meet Again”
We had returned to the Warren Homestead to attend the Tuesday musical presentation at the convalescent home with Uncle Russell. I always look forward to these visits, especially to him playing his harmonica. But this time we didn’t know what to expect, because he had several recent strokes, which limited his capabilities. They were small strokes, and he had recovered, but everyone knew the Big One was a matter of time.
“I wonder how Russell will be this time,” Aunt Charlotte mused aloud, as Donna silently drove us into Sandy. She was worried that he wouldn’t be himself, after the latest stroke, and had prepared a program of music, without his harmonica playing.
I responded, “That’s the hardest part, and whenever I visit Mom, I never know whether she’ll be her wonderful self, or in one of her episodes.” But, this time I was certain that Uncle Russ would be able to join us and he would play his harmonica.
Sure enough, he was ready, and had two appropriate songs he wanted to play. Unfortunately, he was somewhat disoriented, and couldn’t remember the titles, but once wheeled into place, by the piano, he began playing “It’s a Grand Old Flag.” Then Marilyn opened the program by introducing Charlotte at the piano. Uncle Russ patiently waited, and then asked to play his number.
“You’ve already played it, Dad,” Marilyn explained, and continued with the planned program, while he looked confused and disappointed.

Joanie was enjoying the music, and hoped her Uncle Russell could play his harmonica more, so was happy when he tried again, “I’m going to play a special number, which brings to mind a bible verse.” He then gave a brief sermonette, and I rejoiced that he was thinking that clearly, but Marilyn was upset, because they only had 1/2-an-hour, and they were now off schedule. Nevertheless, Russell played his religious tune, and several residents requested favorite numbers, which were played and sung.
At one point, Marilyn announced, “Today is Russell and Charlotte’s 59th Wedding Anniversary, and she invited everyone to sing “Happy Anniversary,” as she played the Birthday Song.
Then Charlotte played a piano solo, and Marilyn led several more old-time sing-alongs, and she played her Omnichord. Russell looked confused and frustrated through it all, and asked to play his songs, between each presentation, but Marilyn detected that he couldn’t remember the other one, and would, again, play the same song, to which he replied, “Well, that’s okay; let them sing it again.”

But she moved on through the program, concluding with everyone singing, “God be with us Till we Meet Again,” which was supposed to end the program, but Uncle Russell played another number, and everyone gladly remained to listen.
Afterward, several residents and visitors wished them “Happy Anniversary,” and thanked them profusely for presenting the program.
Russell had remained confused and frustrated, during the program, and when they pushed him into his room, he insisted it was the wrong one. They convinced him it was his own room, and we all left.

I’d been feeling uneasy, during the program, and then realized that I’d forgotten my camera, and was unable to capture this precious memory. I told myself that I could take a picture next time, but I had a premonition that it might be the last opportunity.
Several days later, when Marilyn was showing us home videos of family gatherings, she had just put in a Christmas one, in which she dressed as Santa Claus and visited several adult Foster Care homes, including the one she managed.
John came into the room, and said, “When you get that setup for them, I want to talk with you and Mom.”

I tried to concentrate on the video, but I knew something had happened to Uncle Russell. As Santa “Ho Ho Hoed” from home to home, including the Warren Family gathering, during the Christmas Marathon, I felt I’d relived an earlier era, when Uncle Russ and Aunt Charlotte were together and happy with their family. But, I anxiously awaited their return.
Finally, Marilyn came back and said, “Dad has had another bad session, and he’s been medicated. They don’t think he’ll recover from this, and there’s concern that he won’t make it much longer.”
Thud! Now, I knew why I’d been feeling uneasy. Thank God I’d come back for this last Tuesday Musical, though I had thought, perhaps, that we should have remained in Redmond for our business appointment. No way! God had guided us back here for this important time with my Warren Family, and to say “Goodbye” to Uncle Russell.
I walked into the kitchen and put my arms around Aunt Charlotte, who was standing alone crying, and I tried to console her, “I know this is the end of life, as you have known it, but remember the fifty-nine good years you’ve had together; and it’s for sure that you have all been very faithful in taking excellent care of Russell.”
She sobbed, “I know.”
Marilyn and Van joined us, and she gave her mom a hug, “Mom, remember, John only said that Dad had a bad episode, so don’t get all upset.”
Charlotte continued sobbing, and muttered, I know, but they’re canceling the Tuesday Musical Programs.”
“That’s because his mind isn’t clear enough to participate any longer. And besides, it may be too upsetting for him,” Marilyn explained, as she gave her mom a pill to calm her anxiety.
Later, Marilyn reminded me that her mom’s dementia, which is part of her Alzheimer’s disease, causes her to become more emotional and distraught than normal; and also, that explaining something doesn’t really help, because she can’t put it together in her mind and retain it from one time to another. It’s like she never heard it.

The next morning Charlotte and Marilyn went to see Russell, and reported that he was heavily sedated and quite confused, but he’d been up and dressed, and eaten; and they said he wanted to see us that afternoon.
We decided to save John and Donna a trip into town, so all climbed aboard Freedom, and drove into the convalescent hospital. We hadn’t been driving, before, because we didn’t think we’d have room to park, but last visit we had noticed room in the street, and this time we even had room in the parking lot.
We found Uncle Russ was sitting on his bed, and delighted to see us. He chatted, while eating a strawberry shortcake Marilyn had made for him; and from my viewpoint, he seemed normal. I felt relieved and reassured to see him, and dispelled any concern about his immediate well-being.

Celebrate the Fullness of Life
We left the next morning, on our way to meet Marquam, but I stopped to see Mom, at another convalescent hospital, and delighted that she was her usual good-natured self, and we had a good visit, while Van took Freedom to Flying J to prepare for our trip. In the meantime, I showed Mom some clothes that Gail had sent for her, and busied myself putting her name in them, before hanging them in her crowded closet.

Afterward, as we drove toward our rendezvous with Marquam, I thought about my family members, who were in the final stages of life, and a sadness came over me; but I reminded myself that life is precious, and it’s a lesson in learning to live every day, as if it were the last, so we don’t waste time on irrelevancies that really don’t matter, in the overall picture.
During this Independence holiday week, I recalled the words from my Daily Reading: “I celebrate life and my divine freedom to live life fully.” Thank God for the fullness of life, as I remember that life is an ongoing journey of inner freedom, and I am continually learning more about myself and my oneness with God.

It continued, “Each celebration is in honor of our spiritual nature. With every thought, word, and action that honors the spirit of God within ourselves and others, we are celebrating the presence of God.”

The Bible verse concluded, “We have the Lord’s festival to celebrate (Exodus 10:9).” A reminder that every day is the “Lord’s festival,” and we can celebrate our inner freedom every day.

Chapter 18
CHANGING MONEY PATTERNS

I’ve been in the process of writing a book about money patterns, which I titled, “Money Matters,” about a workshop that I developed and facilitated. But someone else coined that title, so I renamed it, “Changing Money Patterns.”

I’ve never finished the book, because I haven’t finished living it. And periodically another chapter occurs in our lives, which gives me more understanding toward writing the book. I’m not sure when the book will be completed. Perhaps it’s another “Magnificent Obsession.”
In any event, this chapter will be written here, if nowhere else. And when it’s finished, we will have risen to another level in our forward financial movement.

Our Spending Plan
This time the process started at the Warren Homestead, when Van and I took time to review our Monthly Spending Plan. He had faithfully written out the projected expenses, and then kept the Daily Spending account, throughout the month. Now, we totaled the amounts in hopes of balancing the two.
One benefit from this process is knowing exactly where the money is spent. It’s another form of accountability. Perhaps that’s why it’s called Accounting. Until recently, we had been successfully staying within our Spending Plan. However, the RV repairs had taken their toll, and even with Van’s mom’s help, we were still not balanced, and projections for the next month didn’t look any better. In fact, we had more repairs, and no extra income, although his mom had sent another, smaller check, with the notation, “Help.” That’s for sure.
In addition to the costly repairs, our Business Investment was taking far more than we had anticipated. First, our personal use products had increased, and then we had ordered an extra case of large OPC-3, which should have been recompensed by the profit of sales, but we used two, and two had been given as “Thank You’s;” another had been given at wholesale, and only one was sold at retail. So there was not enough income to pay for the case. OOPS! And we had advanced money to pay for Marquam’s business expenses, which he had promised to repay; but his own expenses had exceeded his income.
“There’s something wrong with this picture!” I complained. “What are we going to do about it?”
“I don’t know,” came Van’s usual response.
“No, that answer won’t work,” I countered. “We can’t continue with this pattern. So, what options can you think of to change the pattern?”
He looked blank, while I had already considered several. But, I wasn’t going to bail him out of this one by answering for him, so I waited.

God’s Intervention
In the meantime, I was hearing my Inner Voice giving me words to say, as I always do when I’m counseling. And, it looked like we were into a session, as I began speaking, “You see, that’s the pattern: your mom has always bailed you out, and, as we’ve said before, that’s your love concept. That’s how your mom shows love for you. In other words, that’s how you and your mother relate. You get a project going, like your Buzzy business, and she provides the money; and that tells you how much she loves you. But, of course, you can never make money at it, because that would mean she would stop providing, and bottom-line, to your subconscious self, that means she stops loving you; because love is money, in your relationship with your mother.”
We’d discussed this pattern before, but it went further this time, as I continued, “But when Buzzy ended, she drew the line, and said, “No more.” So, to your inner child that meant she didn’t love you. But, when she agreed to loan the money for us to buy Freedom, that meant she loved you, and you were happy again. And then, when she gave you money to help with the repairs, the love relationship remained intact.”
We had also talked about this part, too, but now the information took a new twist, “You see, as long as the RV keeps needing repairs, and your mom sends money, you are secure with her love. So, the pattern is that you cannot allow yourself to be prosperous, because then your mom will stop bailing you out with her money, and your subconscious will feel that you no longer have her love. That’s why you weren’t financially successful with Buzzy, and folded the business. And that’s why you weren’t financially successful with that MLM, and it’s why you aren’t willing to get a job or work at making your business financially successful!”
Van looked shocked, and I felt disgusted, if not hopeless. Now, we had an explanation that made sense, but what a waste of his life.
However, this process didn’t end there, because now that the pattern had been accurately identified, we could take the next steps that I used in the Changing Money Patterns Workshops, and which are outlined in the book. The Second Step is to discover the Payoff, which, in this case, was Van’s love relationship with his mom.
Step Three, is to look for options to change the pattern, so I asked him, “What options will change this pattern, and ‘I don’t know,’ isn’t one?”
He looked blank, which, of course, is another pattern: “Withhold; don’t give them what they want.”
So, I said, “In the past, you’ve always resorted to spending less money, or your Silas Marner Complex, but that doesn’t work, either, because we’ve tried it, and the financial pattern is always the same: not enough money, or more-less. We’ve seen that with Marquam, too. He’s cut back on his expenses by giving up his lovely apartment and moving in with his friends; and by giving up his leased pickup and taking his dad’s old truck. But he’s had more expenses than before, and he still doesn’t have enough money. So becoming more frugal in his lifestyle wasn’t the answer. And the same is true with my brother, Gary. He lives quite miserly, and yet his inexpensive RV is costing him more money than if he had bought a better one. So, frugality isn’t the answer.
“Obviously, not spending less money is not the answer. So what is the answer?”
By now, having his secret exposed and having his escape route cut-off, had made Van angry. Actually, it’s the patterns themselves, fearing loss of control and power, that rebel, so he resorted to another Diversionary Tactic: take off the pressure by throwing her off course, so he replied with a question (another tactic devised to avoid the issue, “Spend More Money?”
At first I was going to rise to the bait, but my Guidance stopped me, and I realized that actually, that would be the perfect answer for fulfilling Step Three: Change the miserly consciousness of not spending money to the opposite, so I replied. “Perfect. That’s an excellent solution. What are some other options?”
“Work the Networking Business?”
“Yes, that would definitely change the pattern.”
Now, his smart-ass ego was on a roll, so he rattled off: “Win the Lottery. Rob a bank. Sell Freedom, Go back to a job (he made a face with this one). Print the money. Some kind of money fraud.” He again looked pained, and added, “Oh, I guess a lot of different jobs.”
He paused, as if he was finished, and I said, “You have nine, so one more would be a good List, for starters.”
“Something like God’s Intervention,” he concluded.
“Right, that’s probably the best answer,” I replied. “When you leave it to God, once the patterns and blocks are out of the way, then anything you do will bring in money.”
Later, when Van and I discussed this process, I asked him for feedback on how it affected him, and he said, “There are the different options, so we can try some of them. Probably spend more money, and do more business, and let all that be guided by God.”
I replied, “Okay, but it seems to me to be a consciousness thing, so did the input change anything in you?”
“Not that I’m aware of. I’ll just try to be more conscious about the pattern, and make the changes.”
Not satisfied with that answer, I asked, “Well, was that discussion meaningful to you? Did it make any difference?”
He looked somewhat solemn, as he nodded his head in the affirmative.
I decided to let it go, because his changes always happen on the subconscious level, and he never has any profound feedback. So, it’s a matter between him and “God’s Intervention,” as he called it.

Rendezvous with Marquam
We were too busy with family matters at the Warren Homestead to get back to the Money Patterns, but when I called Marquam to confirm our meeting, he announced that, despite three efforts, he had not been able to return the faulty water pump, because the clerk wouldn’t accept the receipts, which Van had been told were the right ones. By this time, Marquam’s attitude of frustration with the antagonistic clerk had caused a stalemate, so we agreed to return the water pump, after our Saturday Seminar in Salem with Dr. Frank Garner, titled, “Taking Charge of Your Health.”

While visiting Mom, I had heard an announcement on the radio that Highway I-5, which we would be taking, was backed-up for 16-miles, and it had affected 205. So, when we stopped to pick up the seminar tickets from Ed, at his work, he told us a back way to by-pass the congestion. This route made us a half-hour late, but, at least, we made it: a matter of intention and determination.
However, Marquam was over an hour late, and we assumed that he got caught in the traffic. In the meantime, I fixed our lunch, and we tried to keep cool in the 90+ heatwave, by sitting in the afternoon breeze in the shade of Freedom. As usual, I began to fret over having been late, and feared that we had, somehow, missed him.
Finally, he and his friend, Casey, who was giving him a ride, arrived, and explained that they had checked the area several times, but had missed us. I wasn’t convinced, especially since they had been at a tavern. But he was here now, and we sat and chatted awhile, waiting for the highway to clear.
His lateness, and the beers, put him into a mellow mood, and he kept thanking us for our support by coming out to Oregon from Colorado. He felt bad that he owed us money, but assured us that he would pay us back. In fact, he gave Van $20.00 toward his debt, and money to pay for his ticket to the seminar, and later he paid for his own hamburger at Denny’s in Salem.

Health Awareness Seminar
We had been fortunate to park overnight on Denny’s extra lot, by the Best Western, where we attended the seminar, so the walk next door was easy, and we were joined by Ed, who had driven down for the event (Sherrie and her daughter and granddaughter had flown to Kansas to attend the funeral of a young friend who had died on July 4th).
I had great expectations from this Health Seminar, because Dr. Frank Garner is not only an MD, but he’s in the business and knowledgeable about our products. I knew we would glean important information for ourselves and our customers, which we could pass along to help others.

This was not really about money, but, the wealth of information we would acquire in those eight hours far surpassed the $10.00 each for admission. The time wasn’t nearly enough for all that he wanted to impart; but more than enough for what our minds could assimilate.
He covered everything from diseases involving blood sugar levels to ADD/ADHD, and even answered our personal questions, as he covered his outlined material with a pleasant demeanor and a great sense of humor.
The four quadrants — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual — were covered in his discussion of causes and cures, confirming my own beliefs that illness is more than physical. Basically, the well-known dietary facts were also confirmed, such as water, water, water; lots of fiber, fruits and vegetables, and not feeling guilty, if you eat chocolate. Yes! Learning your own body’s needs and requirements, and other common sense advice also met with a receptive audience.
The seminar didn’t actually end in the eight hours, because we left with a handout listing ailments and the products that he prescribes for them, plus some other supplements, as appropriate.
Indeed this seminar offered a wealth of benefits relating to health, but I wondered how it tied into this chapter. Then I spotted the words: “A person cannot be fully healthy, unless they are balanced synergistically among all four of the bodies. Since life constantly threatens to throw us off balance, health is a relative state.
“Optimum health requires that a person hold positive attitudes about their relationship with all aspects of themselves and their lives.”
Under the heading “Focus”: “Healthy attitude requires that a person is always looking to find fun and enjoyment in all things, and is seeking to learn how to create success as well as actually creating it. Disorientation from this focus of fun and success leads to illness.”
These words may not apply to this chapter, but they sure relate to the original title of the book, Business Can be Fun, which is my main focus, other than keeping my attention on the Presence of God.
And under the heading “Priorities”: “Your priorities must be in proper order, because disorder leads to illness.”
Now you know why I emphasize fun, balance and order. It’s part of the overall picture of keeping our four bodies in alignment, and thus healthy.

God Always Provides
During the seminar, Marquam spotted a gal he’d met at another meeting, and she offered to give him a ride home, as she lives near him. This freed us to go in the opposite direction in order to return the water pump, and stay elsewhere, until our appointment on Tuesday for more repairs near Marquam. We arranged to meet with him on that day, and went our separate ways.
Since Sherrie had previously extended an invitation to stay at their place, I asked Ed if it would be convenient for a few days, and he agreed. Now, we not only had a place to park, where I could continue writing, but we could hook up to their electricity and use our air- conditioning, during this heat-wave. Thank you, God.

Bye Bye Water Pump
When we arrived at Thrifty Auto Supply, where Van and Ed had driven in the middle of the night for the original water pump, I knew that whatever was involved with the process, it would be quickly resolved this time.
Nevertheless, I had been praying for the pattern to be removed, and I was convinced it had something to do with money patterns; Marquam’s and Van’s, because three water pumps had definitely tied-up our credit card, and thus our finances, until it was returned. Of course, credit on the first one, purchased elsewhere, had been handled; and we would still need to be reimbursed, by Marquam, for the third one.
But we were gaining on it, and I heaved a sigh of relief when Van returned empty-handed. This meant they had taken the water pump, and we now had closure on that episode; and hopefully the pattern had vanished too.
However, I wasn’t convinced, because of several happenings, or not happenings, while with Marquam. For instance, we had agreed to have a discussion about our financial transactions with him in order to clarify the balance, and to encourage him making a commitment to pay a monthly amount. However, with his departure, this didn’t happen.
Furthermore, he’d brought along his first three Preferred Customer Application Forms, which he hadn’t mailed, because he hadn’t wanted to include the $30.00 ($10.00 each), as yet. Somehow, his latest paycheck had other commitments, so he decided to wait another week. Or, maybe he would send $10.00 along with one, but which one?
This meant it would be two weeks, before the others were mailed, and another two weeks, at least, before they were processed and activated. Not good business practice; so I discussed the matter with Van, and we agreed to apply the $20.00 he had given us toward his debt, to send with his Applications, along with the $10.00 he had contemplated sending with just one.
I guess this all made sense, but it still seemed like a gooey mess, as far as our money patterns were concerned. However, this resolution felt good for now, and we would see how the pattern changes evolved.

A Day at the Beach with Marquam
We’d bounced back and forth between Ed and Sherries, and Marquam’s area, like yo-yo’s, including a quick trip to Flying J, in the opposite direction from both, and dinner with Mom, somewhere in-between. And then drove out of our way in another direction in order to stay at Wal-Mart in Woodburn, so we could pick up Marquam for our trip to the beach.
We were running out of places to stay near him, and this idea was good, but the next morning, we tried another back road to cover the distance, rather than take the freeways. It was a lovely drive, but I wasn’t prepared to wind our way up a mountain, and back down the other side; it was not indicated on the map, but there it was, so we enjoyed the view along the way.
When we arrived at Marquam’s, he invited us inside to see his room, in the apartment with his friends. He’s very protective and secretive about his personal life, so I considered it a privilege to be invited inside, and given a personal tour. His room, as usual, was neat and orderly, and the rest of the apartment was too, as he pointed out the new furniture, and took us outside to see the backyard, shaded by a big tree, where he’d been cleaning his yellow rubber raft.
The weather had shifted from hot to overcast, with possibility of rain, but when we reached the mountains, the sun was shining, so our stop at the viewpoint over- looking the distant snow-covered mountain was pleasant, while I fixed sandwiches.
We then chatted along the way, and Marquam shared that he was terribly upset, because his roommate situation wasn’t working out, due to the jealousy of the other male; only twenty, and insecure in his relationship with Marquam’s Special Friend, who also lived there. I knew it was best for me to keep my mouth shut with advice, so mostly I listened, and gave a few words of consolation, as Van sped along, over the mountains.

Soon we were at Gearhart Beach, where we walked on the sandy beach. Marquam spotted a whole sand dollar, which he gave to me, and Joanie was delighted; it’s not often you find a whole one. However, this time the beach was covered with various size and shapes; mostly broken, but some were whole, and we collected two each. Then Marquam suggested we leave the rest for others to find and enjoy; a good idea, as I enjoyed my priceless gift from the sea, and this cherished walk with my son; a rare treat.

I thought about our previous beach trip, when we went south to Canon Beach and Archcape, where his grandparents (his dad’s parents) had lived, and we strolled the beach, as he talked about his adventures there when he was young; a time I hadn’t shared, as he lived with his dad, after he was seven. He had thought I’d abandoned him, until I reminded him that he had requested the change from living with me, because he missed his dad. But he had forgotten that he’d made the choice, and his reality remained unchanged. So the evening walk together had been special, and I felt more included in that part of his life; at least his memories of them.
Van had chosen not to join us, at that time, and it had seemed to be Divinely Guided, but this time he silently walked along, enjoying the beach in his own way, as mother and son built more cherished memories.

I could see now, that coming to this beach, rather than the more familiar one, was part of changing patterns. Perhaps not money patterns, but they have their roots in family relationships, and these new experiences would build new memories, not based on past history.
However, tradition forms the base of our lives, and we naturally gravitated back to Seaside, where we had gone last year and walked through the shops, viewed the merry-go-round, and ate fried clams at Shilo Inn, which we did this time, but without the fried clams.

Instead, we had planned to drive south for some famous Mo’s clam chowder, but we passed a sign that said, “Voted #1 clam chowder, so we decided to change another pattern, and try something new; indeed, it was excellent. Another important lesson in changing any patterns: try something different. Be willing to take new routes or eat unusual foods; make changes from the old patterns.
And we certainly did this. In fact, our Tour Guide (God) led us north to Fort Stevens State Park, where we spent the night. Although we were on a tight budget, I knew we were supposed to spend the $19.00. Van and I had stayed at this park our first trip to Oregon in Freedom, but the park had been changed, with a new entrance and headquarters, and we stayed in an entirely different area, so it was a new experience for us.

But one important thing remained the same: seeing the mouth of the Columbia River, where it flows into the Pacific Ocean, from the viewing tower. To me, it’s awesome to see the mighty Columbia, after its many miles of grandeur, cease to exist, in its former identity, and become one with the ocean. In other words, the parts had now merged with a larger entity, though they were still droplets of water; only in a different context.

The same is true with us, when we unite, or become one with God. We may seem to lose our identity, but all the molecules continue to exist, only in another context. I often use this illustration to explain our Oneness. And the same example helps to understand that, even in death, we are still One, because the molecules still exist; they simply change form. What a lesson for the subject of changing patterns!

Sometimes it’s Expedient to Follow Familiar Routes
That night, with no TV reception, we agreed to watch videos of our travels from last year, at this time, through the South. I felt good that Marquam was willing to watch them, as no one else has time or interest, although I consider them to be a significant part of my legacy to my family. Watching the scenes, and sharing the memories, prompted me to comment, “I’m glad we did it, and it was fun; but I don’t want to spend another summer in the heat and humidity. Give me good ole Oregon. At its worst, it’s still bearable.”

Watching these videos reminded me of the windstorms and tornado in Mississippi, which brought forth a discussion of the famous Columbus Day Storm, when Marquam was still in a playpen. And, of course, we had missed an earthquake, within recent weeks, while at Redmond; so Oregon’s weather, especially the incessant rain, is not Paradise; one more good reason to live on wheels, where we can move on.

The next morning, it was overcast and drizzling, but we stopped at the original Fort Stevens, and Marquam enjoyed the movie explaining about its origin, and the story of the Japanese sub firing on the nearby beach. But the Commander had forbidden the gunnery crews to return fire, much to everyone’s disappointment, as they were trained and ready to fight. But this retaliatory action would reveal their position, and cause unnecessary warfare. Fortunately, he made a good decision, and there was no more gunfire.
After the movie, Marquam wandered through the cement remains of the batteries, and allowed his inner child to climb the ladders and stairs of the empty facility, while I took camcorder and snapshots.
Little Ralph, too, again surveyed the abandoned fort, while Joanie had looked forward to climbing the bank and seeing the ships in the Columbia River; but it was nearly obscured by low clouds. However, she was able to see one ship moving through the fog, giving an eerie effect; so her trip was successful.

We ran out of time, long before we wanted to leave, but Marquam had to return home in order to go to work that evening, so we fixed sandwiches and decided to return the same route, rather than making it a round-trip via another highway, along the Columbia River, which couldn’t be seen from the road, anyway.
Marquam looked drowsy, and soon fell asleep, so we listened to our business tape as we retraced our way over the mountains; this time through drizzle and sometimes rain. We got him home on time, but the traffic jam, between his home and work, no doubt, caused him to be late; at least we were delayed on the backed-up freeways.
“Maybe we should exit and take a backroad,” I suggested, but Van insisted on staying in the line, plodding along in the same old pattern; and needlessly wasting gas. What a waste of time and energy, not to mention gas, and money.
I’m sure there’s a time to take the familiar, expedient route, and there’s a time to venture into the unknown; change the pattern. How do we know?

Chapter 19
CAN WE MAKE HILLSBORO BEFORE DARK?

We’d been staying a few days at Ed and Sherries, enjoying their great hospitality, including a complete turkey dinner, but now it was time to move on; more repairs on Freedom. This time it was the manifold; a continuation of the muffler project.
After several hours chatting, the evening was approaching, and Ed reminded us, “If you want to make Hillsboro by dark, you’ll need to get on the road.”
Having tried two backroads, and getting stuck in freeway traffic another time, our options were limited, so we took a chance that Sunday evening on the freeway would be okay; yet, it was still a long drive: twelve miles back into Oregon City, along a winding country road, then three freeways and another highway, taking at least an hour.
The sun had set when we arrived, but it was still twilight; enough to see the rope strung across the freshly paved parking lot at the muffler shop.
“But Dan said we could park here, in order to be on time for our early morning appointment,” I protested.
“Right,” Van said, as he kept driving along the busy highway. “Any suggestions?”
“I guess we’d better go to the Fair Grounds,” I concluded, “and hopefully there’s a space to park this late.”

Change of Plans
Fortunately, we found our old space empty, and settled down for the night. Then we got up early, and drove to the muffler shop. The rope was down and the place was busy, but we pulled in and waited.

Since Freedom is our home, as well as vehicle, I hate it when we can’t be inside, but we had to vacate so they could put it on the lift. At least this time I was dressed and ready to leave, with my cell phone and Career Manual, ready for a day of reading.
Dan pointed to a dilapidated chair across the busy shop, and said, “You can sit there, but that compressor gets noisy.”

I’d noticed a “Missed Call” notice on the phone, although I hadn’t heard it ring, and discovered a message from Marquam. “Mom, call me, now, I’ve got to move in two weeks, and I want to meet you at Beaverton Fred Meyers and then fill out an application for that apartment we saw when you were here last time.”

I returned his call, and explained that Freedom was up in the air, so he agreed to come pick me up. I listened, as my distraught son told the story, and I knew he was devastated; not only was he losing a place to live, but also the close proximity to his Special Friend. Now, he would again, be alone, once he went through the disrupting process of moving.
This time, I did voice my opinion, “It’s a difficult situation when you have two guys and a gal living together. In fact, any threesome is a challenge, but when two are involved in a romantic relationship, it’s understandable that a young, immature mate would feel threatened. And it was taking a toll on you.”
“Right, I wasn’t even comfortable in my own home. He didn’t want me to talk with her, or do anything for her. All I wanted was to be friends. After all, he’s the one who broke up her marriage. I didn’t.”
“Well, no wonder he’s so suspicious; he’s just projecting onto you what he did. You’re better off in your own place.”
We spent most of the day getting his Application filled out, and arrangements made for his new apartment, which wouldn’t be ready for three weeks.
As he drove me back to Freedom, he mused, “I’ll probably stay at my dad’s,” then added, “In fact, I’ll start moving my things today.”

More Plans Changed
When we arrived back at the muffler shop, Van announced, “They weren’t able to take care of it, so we’ll need to go to another muffler shop. I’ve made an appointment for Thursday.”
By this time, it had gotten hot, and my head pressures had thwarted my ability to be reasonable, and my patience was exhausted with the Repair Syndrome, as I snarled, “I’m fed up with this game.”

Marquam was anxious to get on with his moving, and he left. Van had arranged for us to stay there overnight, and he quickly got the air-conditioning activated in hopes of cooling my disposition, but it was too late. I retreated to silence and reading the magazines that Marquam had brought in our forwarded mail. Another night in Hillsboro, and it was, indeed, dark, especially from my viewpoint.
I was tired of the patterns running our lives, and I wanted to get beyond them. Instead, we were still stuck with these repairs, and it would be another three days, before we could get them handled. Now what?

As usual, I began mulling in my mind that it was time for a major change. I needed to move on with my life, and leave Van to his repairs. I became ensnarled in the frenzy of trying to figure out what to do: fly to Southern California and stay at John’s empty home, or maybe go back to Colorado with Dottie and Steve, when they come here in August, and stay in their basement bedroom, next to Airica’s room?

But what would we do, in the meantime, until the repairs are done? For one thing, we wanted to attend a meeting the next night, in Beaverton, so we needed to stay nearby, and I was getting tired of trying to find parking lots where we wouldn’t get ousted.

Same Destination: Different Routes
The next morning I awoke and got Van up, so we could get off this lot, before the sun heated the new asphalt, because we’d already sunk into it the day before, even though it wasn’t our fault; after all, they knew we were coming. But, I also wanted to get through town, before the traffic started.

We were discussing the route to the meeting, and I was studying the local map, while Van went through his short version of his morning routine. My theory was to take a new route, via the freeway to Beaverton, find the meeting place, and park on a mall parking lot, until evening. Van mentioned the need to dump, and I figured we’d stop at the Fair Grounds, since we had left early, the last time we’d stayed, and didn’t have time to dump.
Van, on the other hand, had his mind on going back the same way, and no matter how I’d try to arrange the route, he’d come back with the other one. Some place along the line he mentioned dumping at Olinger’s Travel, and then I had a deep insight, not only about the problem with the immediate plans, but the basic difference in our relationship, as I said, “During this entire discussion, when I’ve been talking about the freeway, never once did you say that you were thinking about dumping at Olinger’s, which is along another route.”
He looked surprised, and then admitted, “You’re right, I didn’t. I should have said that.”
I was so angry, I could hardly continue, “You know, that’s the problem with our relationship; we are on two entirely different routes. I have no idea what one you’re on, but it sure isn’t the same as mine. I really think it’s time for us to admit this, and go our separate ways, as soon as we finish what we’re doing here.”
“Well, what do I need to do?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. But we need to get out of here, now, so can we get on the road?”

Divergent Paths
As we drove back through Hillsboro and out the other direction, my head was hurting and I felt totally discouraged, so I picked up my monthly spiritual inspiration magazine, not my daily reading, in the hope of finding solace, and perhaps some answers.

I smiled, as I read the overall theme of the issue, “Who do you think you are?” Yeah, really. I’ve gotten so far off track of who I am and what I’m doing, such as my writing, that I haven’t a clue anymore. I’m so involved with daily survival, and everyone else’s agenda, and building this business that I don’t know mine.

Yet, I had been clearly Guided in this direction, and these seem to be the doors that are opening, so I must assume this is the right direction for me to follow God’s Divine Plan. In fact, when the mail arrived there was only one letter from any Freedomers, which clearly indicates that door is closed. Actually, there wasn’t any mail responding to all my business newsletters, either; and only one personal letter, which said to wait until we visit them in California, before they would sign up as Preferred Customers.

From all indications, the only direction seemed to be, as usual, living in the Present Moment, and taking the next step; in this case, attending the meeting in nearby Beaverton that night. Then returning to Hillsboro for the repairs; and on through the open doors, such as overnight at the Warren Homestead and back to Hood River to see Heidi, as planned, and to Prineville to follow through with our business presentation to Lloyd and Dee.

As usual, the magazine seemed to offer personal counseling for my immediate concerns. An article titled, “What Am I?” addressed these very questions, and asked another: “How do I fit in?” It talked about the difference between the lofty eagle and the limitation of the egg still in the nest. And answers: “Your spirit is your true identity.” It suggests that it’s up to us to decide every day, but concludes that “What I am” was decided by God a long time ago.

The article brought me back to my priorities that I am here to express God, as He lives life through me: I am His hands, His feet, His voice, His eyes and ears and heart. Truths that I already know, but find difficult to remember when I find myself on divergent paths with my partner.

“Invite the Light”
But, the next article helped with that too, as it reminded me to “Invite the Light,” rather than trying to solve the problems myself. I knew that, because the bible says clearly, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (John 1:5). In other words, the chaos, frustrations and confusion of life and its relationships may seem to cause darkness, but the Light of God, the Christ Presence, solves the problems, or gives us the way to find our solutions.
The article reminded me of a Truth that always sets me free, when I remember to apply it, and that is in regard to any relationship, affirm: The Christ in me beholds the Christ in you.” And, as I made this affirmation about Van, I again released the situation, and awaited the results.
By this time, we were at the Fair Grounds, so I said to Van, “When you ask about using their dump, mention that we stayed here the other night, and had to leave early, so ask if we could stay for the day, as we’ll be leaving this evening.”
When he returned, the answer was “Yes,” and I heaved a sigh of relief that we were handled, at least for another day. Where we would stay that night, would be handled, if I just let go and let God.
In the meantime, I had the opportunity to update my chapter, while Van used their shower to refresh himself.

Get on the Same Road
Later, I again approached the subject of our divergent paths, and said, “Van, it’s not that I don’t want to be with you. I do. And my first preference is that we, somehow, get on the same road. But, it seems that all your life, you’ve had this program that no matter what anyone wants you to do, you want to do something else; although you don’t let them know. You simply go about life following your own agenda, like trying to dump at Olinger’s, while I’m talking about going on the freeway. And the worst part is not letting me know what you had in mind.”
Again, we changed patterns as we took time to talk about our mutual destinations and the routes we would take to reach them. This time another major step was taken, as Van admitted the patterns had existed, which moved him from denial to recognition and acceptance. Then we were able to discuss new pattern changes, which included clearer communications and less assumptions on his part.
As for me, simply remaining on the premises was a major accomplishment, for my pattern had been to leave. And, the truth, as I told Van, was that I really wanted for us to get along with each other, and to continue on our journey toward inner freedom and financial success.

Still another Change
I had urged Marquam to attend a business meeting with us, in Beaverton, as it was a special speaker, so I called around 6:00 p.m., and he said, “Yes,” but he wanted us to pick him up at the Hillsboro Fred Meyers. This meant not going the freeway route we’d planned, but I was happy that he was going.
The meeting was perfect for Marquam, as the off-the-wall speaker, kept us entertained, as well as informed; yet, his presentation was simple and professional, though informal. Yay! His main problem had been the malfunctioning air-conditioning, which he had attempted to correct, but ended up having someone buy a portable fan. Actually, the rest of us were comfortable, but the unusual humidity was getting to him, and he made frequent appropriate references to the situation, along with his other wry humor.
Fortunately, our upliners, Paul and Teresa, were there, and we introduced Marquam, so he was beginning to feel more comfortable, and that he belonged. He even thanked the speaker, and also greeted Susan, who had given him a ride home from Dr. Garner’s seminar.
In the meantime, I’d spotted the people who would be giving the meetings in Bend the next week, and discussed with them the locations and dates, so I, too, felt more involved with this group.
When we’d returned to Freedom, and Marquam had left, we went into Fred Meyer’s to shop, and I decided to ask the Manager (not Marquam’s friend) if we could park in the lot overnight. Thankfully, he said, “Yes,” as I was tired from our unsettled lifestyle. Granted, RVing by nature is transient, but this was not planned and it was wearing thin.
However, the changes weren’t over, yet, even though we had gone to bed, as I learned when the cell phone rang. It was Marquam, wanting to know if he could stay the night, because he didn’t feel comfortable with conditions at his apartment. I respected him following his intuition, and agreed; and awaited his return.
Finally, after chatting awhile, we all settled down for the night.

With a Little Bit of Help
The day before, I’d again talked with our prospect, Lloyd, in Prineville, about our business, and he seemed less than interested, so I’d called Steve, in Colorado, to arrange for him to talk with Lloyd. But Steve insisted on negotiating a three-way phone call, which he’d scheduled for the next morning. I had been skeptical, and dreaded trying another new technic, but felt it must be done, so I agreed.

We’d barely gotten up, when Steve called. I desperately wanted to back out, but he kept encouraging me to push through my discomfort, saying, “Everyone is scared to death when they first do a three-way, but I guarantee it will be okay. All you have to do is say “Hi,” and introduce me, I’ll do the rest.”
I went over the plan several more times, and finally the call was placed. Lloyd’s wife, Dee, was in Portland, and he answered the phone. I greeted him, and introduced Steve. As promised, he took over, and the conversation went smoothly. I even let Marquam listen a few minutes to familiarize himself with the ease and function of this new innovation business tool. Eventually, the call was completed, with Lloyd agreeing to attend the upcoming meeting in Bend. Then he asked if I was still on the phone and I said, “Yes,” and arranged to see them the next week.
I heaved a sigh of relief, once Lloyd had hung up, and Steve called back to congratulate me on making it through my first three-way.
Elated over the successful call, I said, “Yep, it’s another great tool for our business.”
Steve said he wished Marquam could have heard it, and I said, “He did! He listened for a few minutes. Here, ask him about it.”
As they talked, the phone began cutting out, so Dottie asked him to deliver a message to me, “I called Bill, in Golden, about the meeting here, tomorrow night, and he sounded interested.” The phone disconnected, signifying the end of this business transaction.
Marquam looked happy, despite his personal challenges, as he left to do more moving. And we moved onward with our day.

It’s Not Over, Yet
We still had to get through the rest of this day, and night, before our next repair appointment, and I dreaded traveling anyplace, because the bracket that connects the exhaust to the engine was not properly connected, and it sounded like a hot-rod. However, we don’t like to wear out our welcome on the supermarket parking lots, so we decided to move on to Costco, where we needed to do some shopping.
Other drivers looked at us, as we boomed our way along the streets to Beaverton, and I was relieved to reach the parking lot and turn off the engine. Before going inside, we finished our morning routines, and I updated my chapter.

I said to Van, “Let’s return to the Hillsboro Fair Grounds to stay tonight?”
He looked apprehensive, and said, “Well, I think we can stay at Doyle’s Muffler Shop, so we’ll be there for them to start working tomorrow.”
Hooray, he’d made a communication to let me know what road he was on! I wasn’t thrilled with the option, but I was too embarrassed with the noise to travel much further, so decided it was expedient to find a hole and crawl in it; in this case, the muffler shop.

Another Night; Another Muffler Shop
Oh well, at least we had a place to stay, and they even hooked us up to their electricity, so we finished Sherrie’s delicious turkey enchiladas and Romaine lettuce, while we watched TV. The news was still filled with the life and death of JFK Jr and his wife, Caroline, and her sister, Lauren, who had been missing for several days and presumed drowned when his plane crashed into the water near Hyannis Port. Now, their bodies had been found and the memorial services were being planned.

Discussing the tragedy with Marquam, I had said, “I was in the hospital giving birth to you, on Election Day when his dad was voted president. His mom was pregnant with John Jr., at the time, so he must have been born that first year his dad was in office. At least, he’s 38, the same age as you; but despite his wealth and opportunities, you have something he hasn’t got.” Marquam didn’t say anything, so I continued, “You’re alive.” Then I added, “It’s something to pause and reflect on, no matter how upsetting your present circumstances.”

Now, watching the news of JFK Jr’s confirmed death, I flashed back to those Camelot years, and felt sad about the lost dreams we’d all suffered throughout the years, with the death of JFK. Sr. I remember that I left Randy (nickname for Randal Marquam McLaughlin, III) in the playpen, while I cried over the loss of our president, and the end of Camelot. It was like a loved member of our family had died; and we all grieved, unable to believe it was over.

Looking back, I can honestly say that was the end of an era, personally, as well as politically. I remained married a few more years, but life had changed; and with my divorce, when Randy was seven, I entered into a period of transition and uncertainty.

I’d grown up when women didn’t prepare for a career, they got married and their husband supported them. So, trying to raise two teenage daughters and Randy, who was hyperactive, while working as a salesclerk in a department store, was beyond my coping abilities. And every weekend he spent with his dad, he’d return home and cry.
Finally, his dad and I agreed that we’d ask him where he wanted to live, and he happily chose to live with his dad; no doubt his best decision to be with a more stable environment.
Of course, then he would cry every time he left me and returned to his dad. But, the arrangement remained intact, and life wore on.

I married again, and moved to California, but Randy would spend time with us, still lamenting that his family wasn’t together. Gail had married at 16 and lived in Portland, and Dottie was attending college and then working. I tried to explain that he had the best of both worlds, as he could be with his dad in Oregon, and then come to California to see me. He didn’t buy what I was selling, and it’s always been a source of unresolved grief for him. But life moved on, and he grew up. However, he never found the perfect mate. Instead, his relationships are with unavailable women, and I suppose that is because his relationship with me was distant and incomplete.
I was happy that we were having this time together, and I felt it was healing for him, as Van’s time, in recent years, with his mother, had been healing; for he, too, had lived apart from his mother, and I could see similarities in the patterns of the two men.

At the muffler shop, we watched a weird movie, To Die For, with a much younger Nicole Kidman; a satire about a beautiful, young blond woman who married an innocent, unsuspecting young man, but had ambitions to become a famous TV personality. Her obsessive quest brought her to a local station, where she became the Weather Person; a step on her way to fame, which she took very seriously.
Eventually, she initiated a program in the high school to help young people break into the TV world. The three misfit students who signed up soon became ensnared in her web to have them kill her husband, whose desire for kids got in the way of her obsession.
The story showed her carefully executed plan to exploit the teens, and use them to her advantage, which she did. And the plot thickened when her husband’s father called upon his Mafia associations to entice the young woman to an isolated area, on the pretext of giving her a movie career. The last shot showed her face up, under the frozen ice. Remember, it was a satire, but based on stories that have been in the media in recent years.

Life is Stranger than Fiction
The next morning work began on Freedom, and I chose the opportunity to rewrite my first book in the Travel Series, thinking that nothing current warranted attention. Wrong!
The cell phone rang, and Marquam announced, “I’m leaving here now! I’m packing, and I will be at my dad’s.” He went on to say that he was involved in a setup, and they were both falsely accusing him of wrongdoing.

Since I’d been praying for Divine Order for him, I assumed this was the way it was unfolding, and I said, “Well, it’s a good thing you’ve moved everything out of there. I sure had a feeling you might need to leave in a hurry.”
“Yep, I’m packing my dishes and clothes, and I’m gone.” He paused, and then added, “My friend, Casey, said he thought something like this would happen, and he’s right.”
I didn’t want to heap coals on the fire of hurt and grief, but I said, “Well, no one wants to say, ‘I told you so,’ but sometimes these experiences are opportunities to learn life’s lessons, and I’m proud of you for handling it so well.”
“Thanks, well, I’ve got to go,” he added, with the sound of clinking dishes in the background, as he wrapped them for their pickup ride to his dad’s.
I’ve often said, “Never worry about what other people think, when making your decisions, because they’ll discuss it over their next meal, and get on with their life, but you’re stuck having to live with the results.”
In this case, while discussing my son’s predicament with Van, over our sandwich, I said, “There’s a strange similarity between the gal in Marquam’s life, and the one on TV. Do you think she’s taking advantage of Marquam?
Van grinned and shook his head, which is about as animated as he gets over these situations, and I remembered that Van had once been in a life-threatening relationship, as I asked, “Does every guy go through something like this, at least once in their lives?”
Remembering his near-death experience, he said, “I don’t know; but it sure does get the lesson across: Be wary.”
“I just pray that Marquam finds a wonderful woman who can appreciate his wonderfulness,” I said. And we went on to other topics.
Later in the day, Marquam called, “I’m at Dad’s. The good news is that I’ve been approved for the apartments.”
“Congratulations!” I shouted.

Time for Revising
Finally, I had a large window of time to get my head back into revising my first book in the Travel Series, Home on the Road; The Beginning, writing about the Void and Ending, and reminded me that Preparation is a vital step of each stage.

Fortunately, we had spent two months living in Freedom, during our Preparation, getting used to our new lifestyle; so when we went On the Road, we were ready.
Our first trip, to Portland, for Mom’s birthday, and visiting family and friends went great; and we enjoyed the view along the way, staying at State and National Parks. Then we drove to Northern California, through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and visited my brother, Gary, near his forestry lookout. And Van finally renewed contact with his step-mother, Ruth, whom he hadn’t seen in over twenty years. We visited our friend, Julie, who was ailing from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and then spent a month parked by Van’s mom, Betty, in her mobile home park.
The return trip to Colorado took us to visit our friend, Bonnie, in the mountains of Northeastern Washington, and into Canada. But a call from family in Portland announced that Mom was near dying, so we returned, and again, she came out of it. So we resumed our eastward journey, through Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. We arrived in Colorado in time for a snowstorm; and then another. And that motivated our Second Trip: to Texas and then Nevada for the winter, which is Book Two: Home on the Road: Moving on.

The point of this rehash is to mention that, while editing, I noticed many references to our stops at Flying J Truck Stops, and during the night, as I was still editing, my Inner Voice said, “Suggest to Van that he change his more-less pattern by making a choice to stay at RV Parks, rather than freebies.”

Startling as this change may be, I could see its value toward changing the pattern. Even his willingness to do it would be a major upheaval for his reality, and the Silas Marner Complex.
You may have noticed that I mentioned this revelation coming “during the night,” which is because the repairs weren’t completed, until evening; and then the work had to set for four hours, so this meant staying overnight, again, in the muffler shop parking lot. Only we were now on the other side of the building, so we had a different view: an apartment complex on one side, and buses and trucks in the lot next to us. But, the important thing is that I got half of the book revised, and we could be on our way the next morning. Wrong!

The morning started with Van and I in the discussion that followed my suggestion to start staying in RV Parks. Talk about a revision. This was major, but he actually was receptive to the idea, which led to more talk about the repercussions. Again, we referred to his illustration of the impact when a ship changes directions mid-course; it still continues going forward, until the momentum dies down.

I suggested that it’s not really that he has to turn around and head back the way he’d come from, but rather that he simply alter his course from more-less by making a choice for another option.
In the meantime, Chuck, the mechanic, had arrived to complete his project, such as replacing the tire. However, in the middle of our discussion, we overheard him talking to another worker, “Boy, this really sucks!”
“What happened?”
“Well, some of the studs broke again. Now, I’ll have to remove the entire manifold and start over.”
Van and I stopped mid-sentence, and listened to the rest of the comments, then I asked him, “Does this mean we have to wait another four-hours for it to set?”
“Yes.”
“Oh well, there goes our plans to return to the Warren Homestead. We’d better go on to Hood River and stay at Wal-Mart. I wonder if there’s an RV Park in that area?”
Once we regained our train-of-thought, I asked Van, “What motivated your choices when in college?”
He thought a minute, and then said, “Investigation, adventure and information.”
I’d never heard this response before, so I paused, listening to my Inner Voice, then asked, “So how have you changed from that motivation?”
“I haven’t, really,” he replied.
Somehow, none of this was computing with anything he’d ever said, and I wasn’t sure where to go with the new information, and he said, “Isn’t that what we’re doing now, in our travels?”
“Yeah,” I said, slowly, carefully listening within for the next comments, and then asking, “Are you doing this with our business, too?”
“Yes, I do it all the time; that’s why I read and study out all the information we’re given.”
“Okay, so then do you put it into practice?”
“Yes. That’s why I talked to Carole, yesterday, in the front office here.”

The conversation had taken a major shift, and I was confused, because Little Ralph had been running rampant earlier, and now Adult Ralph was talking, which gave me cause for rejoicing, as I know that when he’s on the job, everything is being taken care of properly. The comments I was hearing reassured me that the inner child healing process was progressing, as it was supposed to, and Little Ralph seemed to be giving way to Adult Ralph in the matter of business. Hooray!
It was looking as if the book revision and the people revision were paralleling. Good, then let me get back to my computer. However, I’d looked forward to watching the Memorial Service for John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Caroline, but when I turned on the TV, it was just ending; they’d given the Eastern Time, rather than Western. I was terribly disappointed, because I wanted the completion, but it was over, and they had been memorialized without my participation.
I had to assume that my Guidance had made my priorities clear; the conversation with Van took precedent.

By this time, it was obvious that our trip plans had to be revised, too, as we were delayed by the additional repairs. So, I returned to my computer to continue revising.
But, as I was plunking on the keys, I heard Van outside talking with Chuck, “I’d like to give you my business card, in case you’re ever interested in an additional income. Do you enjoy selling?”
“No, not really.”
“I don’t either, Chuck, and that’s why I enjoy this business. I was a computer programmer, and stayed in the backroom, but this is more about sharing the products that help people attain good health.
“Does it have a catalog?”
At this point, I jumped up from the computer, grabbed a catalog and handed it out the open door, and said, “Tell him about Clear Shield and Friction Free 3,000.”
Chuck laughed, “She’s the salesperson here, right?”
Van agreed, as I returned inside, and he continued talking to Chuck, who seemed interested, so I grabbed a Preferred Customer Application Form, and took it to him, and explained about filling out the form, adding, “You can fill it out and hand it back to me,” I urged.
“This is what my wife does, right? Fills out the form.”
“Great, just add a stamp and send it to the address on the front.”
He tucked it in the catalog and Van showed him the page with Friction Free 3,000.
As Chuck read, I said to Van, “Tell him about TC’s International Truck,” and he told the story of the old truck spitting out oil and smoke, and people honking and pointing, as he drove down the street. But, once he added the product, at the next oil change, and drove down the street, nothing happened. It worked, and the old truck gave him more mileage and service.
Chuck listened, and thanked him, and excused himself to get back to work.
Talk about revision, I love it when Van takes some action. Now that’s teamwork, I thought to myself. If we can just keep working together, like this, we can build a prosperous business, while helping people and giving service. Yeah!

Everything Must Eventually End
No matter how much you hold on, everything must eventually end; even motor home repairs, and even rewriting books. Of course, it helps, if we can let go of the patterns underneath the holding on. Always, there is an answer to the question: “Why? Why am I holding on?” And conversely, “Why am I unwilling to let go?”

I remember that years ago Van admitted that his procrastination was a bid to hold onto people’s love. He said, “If I didn’t do what they wanted me to do, it would keep them wanting me around to do it. He got over that pattern by “recognizing that’s what was going on,” as he put it.
Now, if he could only recognize the pattern underneath the repairs, which I’d already discussed earlier, and be willing to move on, we could have money for other purposes; for instance, taking care of my ongoing body aches. Despite all my Isotonix supplements, and inner journey changes, I still ached; suspiciously sounding like Fibromyalgia, though I’m still unwilling to claim that modern stress disease.

I’d been waiting for the results on the RV repairs, before making a final decision on going to a local chiropractor’s office that I’d noticed along the route. But, the more I worked at the computer, the more my neck and shoulders were tightening; another obvious symptomatic clue. So, I took advantage of our stay at the muffler shop to use their phone book, and mentioned my quest to Carol, the receptionist, while asking “Do you know of a good chiropractor?”
Sure enough, she did, and I called Dr. Kim Landi, who was also a Naturopath; eventually making an appointment for 7:30 that evening (the only time she had available). Later in the day, I decided to locate a Laundromat, since we would be hanging around, until evening. It’s amazing how our Tour Guide (God) takes care of the most minute detail, when we let Him. For instance, Dr. Kim had suggested that we could park at the Safeway parking lot, on the corner, and walk to her house/office. And the same parking lot accommodated a Laundromat.
In the meantime, Van had approached Bob, the owner, about our products, but he didn’t seem interested.
“Maybe you made the wrong approach,” I suggested, “After all, he did say he could use additional income. Anyway, wouldn’t it be neat, if Chuck got involved, and eventually signed up his boss? I’d like that scenario.”
Around five o’ clock, we were finished with the repairs, Van paid the $780.00+ bill, and we were heading toward the dump at Olinger’s Travel, when he said, “We have to head back.”
I couldn’t believe my ears, as I looked up from my Crossword Puzzle book, so I asked, “What?” And he repeated his statement.
“Why?”
“Because the speedometer isn’t working, and the dashboard reads, “Check Engine.”
“Oh, guess we haven’t had enough, yet. And are you sure he’s still there; it’s after 5:00?”
“He said he’d be there awhile,” Van replied, as he negotiated Freedom around the block and back to Doyle’s Muffler Shop.

By this time, I’d given up the hope of getting my laundry done, and I eyed the clock, while watching the JFK, Jr. Memorial Service on the Evening News Broadcasts, where I discovered that the actual service hadn’t been on TV, so I hadn’t missed much, during the important conversation with Van that morning.
Now, as the time drug on, while Bob searched for the culprit, and discovered a wire that had been loosened (during their repair of the manifold), I wondered if we’d made any progress at all; or was this the last tightening of the screw, so to speak; not only for the speedometer, but for Van letting go of his RV Repair Syndrome, as a bid for his mother’s love; an extension of the Procrastination Pattern.
However, another aspect of the RV Repair Syndrome made itself known to me, as the last vestiges of these repairs wore toward their inner and outer conclusion. Here’s how I heard the explanation:
“The repairmen represent to Little Ralph the bonding he never had with his dad, so this is another bid, of the inner child, to fill that void; a father’s love. That’s why Little Ralph is holding onto the RV Repair Syndrome.” It made sense to me, and I looked forward to sharing it with Van, when we had time.
At 7:00 p.m., the repairs continued, as I prepared to call and cancel my appointment, but Van climbed on board, and said, “Let’s go.”
He pulled into the Safeway parking lot, and I said, “Why don’t you go ahead and dump, and maybe you could put the laundry in the washer too, before you leave.”
He started to say, “I don’t want to leave it, while I’m gone,” but I figured it was a copout, so departed for my appointment.

A Visit at the Doctor’s Office
I’ve noticed, through the years, that when I’m ready for an upward step, it’s necessary to release any residue negative energies from my body, or otherwise put it into balance. Obviously, God was telling me this was the time, and this was the place, because it all fit together.
Judging by the Eastern US accent, I anticipated a dark-haired Jewish girl, or some facsimile, but instead, a pleasant, petite fair-haired gal ushered me into her office, and spent an hour asking questions, which seemed wasted time, considering this would be a one-time appointment.
Finally, the interview ended, and the treatment was about to begin, but a knock from an inside door, followed by her baby-sitter, saying “I’ve got to go,” added more stress to the otherwise uncomfortable atmosphere of this home-office arrangement. First, a call from her husband, on his way home, and her urgent plea, “Please hurry, as the baby-sitter is leaving and I’m running late”; and then the dogs barking in the back yard, which she had to hush.
I could feel the inner message of my life, “I’m an imposition, she doesn’t have time for me,” yet, the doctor’s outer message was one of concern and a desire to give a thorough good treatment, even if it’s one-time.
“Oh, you are tight in the neck and shoulders,” she said, as she began the body manipulation, followed by a pop, when it let go.
She adjusted my neck, and also hips, which had been painful, as a result of lengthy sitting at the computer, or elsewhere. But sounds in the next room were distracting, as her husband arrived, and the baby-sitter left. I knew she’d given me far more time and attention than warranted by my payment, as she had included the hip treatment for free, and I was grateful. Therefore, I hesitated to tell her that the last pop had relieved one side of my head, but the other had tightened, as a sympathetic reaction. However, I wasn’t willing to leave with a worse head condition than when I arrived, despite the chaos of the situation. So, I pointed to the tight area, and she continued working, until I finally said, “It’s okay,” whether it was or not, just to end the emotional discomfort.
And, I realized this was another of my patterns: my needs not getting met, because of the urgency of the other person, whether Mother, Father, husband, minister, teacher, or chiropractor. This seemed like a good time to end this pattern, too, and I thanked God for removing the negative energies, returning them to Divine Energy, and transforming them into positive and constructive energies for good.

Are we There, Yet?
Kids always ask this question on a long trip, and I was feeling the same restlessness and urgency to end this Hillsboro Rest Stop by the time I returned to Freedom in the Safeway parking lot. In fact, I’d taken a shortcut, which brought me past the Laundromat, at the side of the complex, and to my amazement, there was Van switching the laundry from the washer to the dryer. This is a first! He always helps me, but this time he actually gathered the soiled clothes and brought them over all by himself. Thank you, God! And thank you, Van.
I joined him, and we waited for the drying cycle to finish, folded the clothes and returned to Freedom. Now, it was almost 10:00 o’ clock, but we hadn’t eaten, so I fixed a quick snack, and then we headed down the road toward Hood River.
But I was zapped from my treatment, as often happens with the release of toxic energy, so I rested on the couch. There would be time enough to discuss with Van the Father/Repairmen Syndrome the next morning in Hood River. This en-Light-enment would need the light of day, not the darkness of night in Hillsboro.
As Peter Jennings reported from a comment made by a spectator at the JFK, Jr. Memorial Service, “It’s time to move on.”
Yes! And let’s have some fun.

Chapter 20
I AM FREE IN SPIRIT

Father Substitutes
We didn’t make it to Hood River by dark, but arrived in the middle of night, only to discover Wal-Mart’s parking lot filled with RV’s and other vehicles bedecked with windsurfing crafts, boats, or other water sports paraphernalia. There was barely room for Van to pull between the closely parked congestion, made more crowded by a sprawling Go-cart arena, apparently constructed as a promotional activity. Nevertheless, we settled in and went to bed.
The next morning, I updated my preceding chapter, and when Van got up, I chose the opportunity to pursue the subject by explaining the information given by my Inner Voice, concluding, “It does make sense, don’t you think, that the ongoing repairmen could represent to Little Ralph the need for bonding with your father, and somehow they fill that void?”
This unique concept took him by surprise, and I could tell that it hit Little Ralph right between the eyes, because revealing this deeply hidden issue, with the Light of Truth given from Spirit, affected him like his hand was caught in the cookie jar, and he had no place to hide. And his ego wanted to protect him from being exposed, because it would disrupt his reality and possibly cause an identity crisis, so his intellect sent off a smoke screen, by asking questions, “How would I know that is the pattern?”
I paused to listen for Inner Guidance, and then responded, “Well, how did you know that procrastinating was an undesirable pattern?”
“I could tell there were things I was doing that seemed to be procrastination, and by recognizing it, I could take different options. I just knew that I wanted to change it.”
“Okay, so you knew by the negative results it was causing in your life, right?”
He nodded, so I continued, “Don’t you think these ongoing repairs are equally devastating to our lives?”
Again, he nodded, so I said, “Then change the pattern the same way you eliminated the procrastination syndrome. Actually, once you recognize it, other than me telling you, and you wanting to be free of the limitation, then you can ask God to remove it. In other words, coming out of denial into recognition is the First Step in Changing Patterns, as you know. And identifying the pattern is the Second Step. Willingness to change it, after discovering the negative payoff — Father substitute — are Third and Fourth Steps. Finding a replacement, and thanking God are Fifth and Sixth Steps. Asking Him to remove it is the Seventh Step. I concluded, “So, what do you think would be a good replacement pattern?”
“Listen more directly to what God says, and rely on that to fill the void? He asked.”
“Do you think that would work for you?”
He shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know, I can try it. I’ll get more information.”
I knew we weren’t through with the subject, yet, so I said, “You’ve done a lot of gathering information, maybe it’s time to put it into application: to take action. For instance, if you were going to build a car, and you had gathered all the information: then what would you do?”
Little Ralph was playing the game, now, and replied: “I’d look at my Parts List and start buying them.”
“Okay, then what”
“I guess I’d start building the car.”
“So, once it’s built, what would you do?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, what action would you take?”
“I’d show it to others.”
Oh dear, I thought, where have I failed? But, I said, “That sounds like it’s outside of yourself. Isn’t there anything you would do with it?”
Pause. “Yeah, I guess I’d get in and drive it.”
“Yes. So you gathered information, and then you took action; you bought the parts and then you started building your car. And once it was finished, you didn’t just leave it, you put it into service; you used it, which is exactly what you need to do with your information about God. Now, you need to take action and put God into application in your life. Become aware of His Presence, and allow it to fill the void that you are trying to fill with RV repairs; by having your mother finance them to show her love, and the mechanics fix them, which is your Father substitute.”
“So, now, I no longer have a relationship with men, right?”
“Okay, I give up; you win. Your ego has taken over, and is taking this to extreme, so there’s no place to go with this discussion.”
“Well, what else are you saying?”
I had already read excerpts from the Daily Readings from the past week, which seemed to answer the question, but I tried to rephrase it: “I’m saying to focus on God’s Inner Presence, and become aware of It filling that void.”
As the conversation wore on, it became obvious that Van had no concept of what I was saying, because he had no experience of Father-Son love to draw on. It was not in his reality. So, I suggested that he change his concept of his relationship with his father, such as finding something that he could use as a Love Concept.
“I’ve already done that; long before I knew you, I realized that they loved me the best they could.”
“Yeah, and you know what? Little Ralph didn’t buy it. Like someone once said about their inner child’s reaction to a year of affirmations; she stuck out her tongue and made a loud brackish noise.” Graphic, but effective to get the point across: it doesn’t work. So what would work to assist Little Ralph in changing the Parent Love Concept?”

“With This Ring, I Thee Wed”
He didn’t have a clue, so I reached for my diamond cocktail ring, and began explaining: “When I was living in Dottie and Steve’s trailer, in Colorado, during our separation, God gave me an illustration of Oneness, using this ring:
“The large champagne diamond in the center represents God; the two smaller diamonds represent Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Christ Presence); the four diamond flakes around the God-diamond represent the inner child and three-selves; the twelve diamond flakes on the sides represent the Twelve Disciples and the band symbolizes the merging with Van’s three-selves and inner child. In other words, the entire ring represents Oneness; no separation.
“Since I had removed my wedding band, I was told to put on the large ring, and wear it as symbolic of Oneness. In fact, I was even taken through an inner merging ceremony. It was quite touching. And that day I returned to you in California.”
Van’s energies had shifted, so I said, “You can use this ring to assist you in visualizing or experiencing Oneness; perhaps it will help.”
Later, when writing this chapter, I asked him what I’d said, after I asked “What would assist Little Ralph in changing the Parent Love Concept?: He said, “The ring illustration of Oneness.”
Apparently he got the point, and life moved on, hopefully with Little Ralph at a new level of maturity and Oneness. Rather than pulling apart in different directions, Van would be more integrated with all levels of himself.

An Ideal Husband
I had to laugh at Heidi’s choice of movie, An Ideal Husband, for us to see at the combination pizza parlor/movie theater, especially after the aforementioned merging ceremony description, because the movie concluded with a magnificent wedding scene.
Because Heidi is deeply involved in her college courses, we’d agreed to limit our time together, as she had “25-hours of homework.” But, we always have fun with my granddaughter, so the amount of time isn’t the criteria; it’s simply a matter of being together, and Joanie considers it Fun.
We started by riding with Heidi across the Columbia River on the toll bridge — 75 cents, unless you have a monthly rate; then it’s 62 cents. Our journey took us to the next door house from where she once lived, and her destination was to feed the dog where she was house-sitting.
I was delighted, because it meant an incredible view between the trees and across the green fields, with the Mighty Columbia roaring by, and the town of Hood River spread out along the hillside, while Mt. Hood loomed elegantly in the distant background. I thought about the picture I had sent her, with the mountain view from the apple orchards, above Hood River, and the caption, “Eat your heart out, Heidi,” referring to the Swiss girl in the story about life with her grandfather in The Alps. But this picture seemed destined for our Heidi, and she loved it; even planning to frame and hang it in her home.
Usually our visit with Heidi includes dinner at Fidel’s Mexican Restaurant, but we had done that last month, so this time I requested a movie at the quirky picturesque theater, with pizza too.
But first, we took the traditional walk through the main street of this tourist town and wandered through several artsy shops geared for the tourists, and featuring local crafts, such as candles and paintings, or blown glass and metal decor.
Joanie had already informed me that she wanted an ice cream cone at Mike’s, and she ordered a Chai Tea cone, while Little Ralph savored a dish of Marionberry ice cream, and Heidi went for the chocolate. Yum! No one was disappointed, as we sat at the outdoor table, enjoying our treats. And who should drive by, but Fidel’s son, Nick, in his dad’s Porsche.
“That reminds me,” Heidi said, “I read your newsletter, and I need to correct what you wrote about Fidel, Jr. He’s now owner of that restaurant. His dad decided to give him full responsibility.”
“Wow! Tell him ‘Congratulations.’”
We wandered up the street to Twiggs, Heidi’s favorite craft store, and browsed through the delightful offerings, such as candles that looked like creamy Jell-O delicacies.
Soon it was time to meander down the street to the theater, where we went through a narrow door into a hallway that sloped upwards to an open area where the box-office, pizzeria, and booths were available, which was our preference for the evening. However, some chose the option of eating their pizza, salads, or calzone in the theater, where the servers would call out their names, and hand their orders to them by flashlight.
This theater was newer, smaller, and more conventional than the original one, which featured overstuffed, or beanbag chairs, in addition to the usual theater style seats, with narrow bench-type tables in front of each row. Of course, we had already eaten the delicious pizza, so it really didn’t matter.
Heidi opted for this movie, rather than With Eyes Wide-Open, the Nicole Kidman-Tom Cruise movie featuring nude love scenes; probably a wise choice to see with your grandmother and Van. You can only mix generations just so much, and then it’s a bridge too far. I had no idea what this one was about, but we assumed it was English, and a comedy, based on the commercials.
Little did I know that some characteristics of the future groom would be fodder for my ongoing thesis about changing patterns. Here was an eligible bachelor, who had no intentions of marriage, and his comments referring to his preferences about this status were classic. And the father-son relationship also added delightful scenes. Too complex to relate, so you must see the movie, or rent the video (later); I intend seeing the movie again, which is unusual for me.
One point, applicable to my changing-pattern theme, relates to Sir Robert’s choice, made under extreme pressure, in his selection of a bride: one would have been the bitch of the century, and possibly well-suited to one side of his nature; and the other was tamer, but feisty and independent. The parts were well-played by Minnie Driver and Rupert Everett and Cate Blanchett.
In the beginning, the other couple’s story seemed more predominant, and their predicament was extremely compelling, and equally illustrative of the repercussions of one’s choices. What more can I say? See the movie as a visual aide, if nothing else; but it is entertaining, and Van laughed throughout the entire movie. Fun! Yes, and that’s what Joanie liked about the entire day with Heidi.

Let’s do Lunch
We’d decided to meet with Heidi for lunch, and she agreed to make sandwiches, so I brought some chips and cookies.
This time, Randy, her fiancée’, took time from putting new shakes on the house, to join us, and he shared about having driven for an hour (each way) to catch the perfect winds for windsurfing, the day before. At this time, he was between activities with the U.S. Ski Team, so he caught up on home repairs, and indulged his passion for windsurfing.
Heidi, on the other hand, had been attempting to get caught up with her college math homework, between classes and working her job part-time (during the summer off-season from Mt. Hood Meadows, where she does payroll).
Once the tuna sandwiches were made, we drove to the Marina along the Columbia River, where they have picnic tables, trees, lawn, a sandy beach, and lots of boats to enjoy on this sunny summer afternoon. Then we ate lunch, and returned to their home, so Randy could continue his work, and Heidi could get back to her books.
However, she took time to talk with us about school, and to arrange to make me a bead necklace, with my selection of the blue beads, which she would do when she had a break from school.
We chatted some about our family, and her mom (Gail) having returned a week early from visiting Christina and Brandon in Florida; too hot and humid and she wasn’t having a good time. Interestingly, Heidi had become much more understanding and accepting of her mom, and endeavored to help me understand the phenomenon of Gail’s mental illness, when I talked about my inner child’s reticence to deal with the “Come here; go away” syndrome.
I wondered if the OPC-3 had anything to do with Heidi’s changed attitude, as it had affected mine, but I didn’t discuss the subject. It was enough to learn that she had sent in her Preferred Customer Application Form. Now, I was quite sure we’d fulfilled our goal of ten.
Soon our time was up, as she needed to get back to her books; and she returned us to Freedom and we said our “good-byes.”

God Fulfills His Promise
As we drove up the hill and through the Hood River Valley, with Mt. Hood towering in the distance, beyond the apple orchards (the scene in the picture I gave Heidi), I noted that I did not have the feeling of being an imposition, or not wanted, which had persisted in the past, when trying to fit into Heidi’s busy schedule. And I rejoiced that God had, indeed, removed that negative pattern and I was able to enjoy my time with my granddaughter. Unfortunately, Van had been quieter than usual, because of the morning’s discussion, and his confusion about relating with men. As a result, he barely spoke to Randy, but he did enjoy listening to Heidi’s sharings about college.
Now, I faced two more challenges, or tests, of having these patterns changed. One was calling Gail and arranging to spend some time with her; and the other was meeting with Lloyd and Dee about Van accompanying him to a meeting in Bend.
I decided to call Gail from Hood River, and let her know we would be in her area; for one reason, the cell phone wouldn’t work in the mountains, and the other to let her have time to adjust to our plans.
She sounded good, but wondered how long before I’d know that we would be going to Redmond. Because I wasn’t certain about our exact plans, until that moment, I said, “Fifteen minutes.” I then asked, “When would you like for me to call you about getting together?”
She replied, Monday, after 5:00.” I explained that we would be involved with our business appointment, but suggested Tuesday, and she agreed.
That went smoothly, although she hadn’t invited us to park at her place, so Van and I talked about parking at Wal-Mart. However, as we drove into the mountains, and the relaxing energies of the trees and Mt. Hood set in, I said to Van, “You know, I would really like to stop at Kah-nee-ta for a swim and hot tub to relieve my aching shoulders and neck. The treatment helped, but I think I need more.”
He said, “Okay,” and asked for directions to get there. Then, after he had time to think about it, he said, “Would you like to stay there overnight?”
I hadn’t really planned on it, especially because I didn’t feel we could afford $35.00 for one night, after our repair expenses, but I remembered that Van was working on changing his money patterns, so I said, “I’d really enjoy that.”
Yet, as we got further into the cool woods and mountains, I thought about how much hotter it would be in the desert area of Kah-nee-ta, so I said, “You know, I appreciate your suggestion for staying at Kah-nee-ta, but I wouldn’t mind staying tonight at Bear Springs, which is much less expensive, and much cooler; and we can get up earlier and stop for my swim and hot tub in the morning.”
He seemed disappointed, but agreed that it would be a wiser choice.
I marveled at myself for making this decision, because I so love to be at the scene of my roots; but this time it felt right. Nevertheless, I said, “How about if we check out Bear Springs, and if there’s no space, we’ll go to Hot Springs; otherwise, we’ll stay in the woods. After all, it’s a National Park and we get our Golden Age Passport rate, which is only $5.00. And the swim is only $6.00, which makes sense to me, since we have to get to Prineville early in the afternoon.”
Not only was there room at Bear Springs, but the space we’d had last time, and the only one large enough for our RV, was open. It felt good to settle into the cool, quiet woods, and spend a peaceful evening. We couldn’t even get cell phone or TV reception, so we had time to be still and listen within for awhile.
Van seemed lost in thought, so I finally returned to the computer to update my chapter, while our visit with Heidi was fresh in my mind. And putting these events into writing helped me to see that God had removed the old pattern, “They don’t want me,” and as a result, my relationship with Heidi, and even Gail (on the phone) seemed more enjoyable.

The Mysteries of Life
In the morning, the sun peeking through the tall trees reflected a labyrinth of spider webs strung from tree-to-tree and limb-to-limb with rainbow colors emanating from their mysterious realm. How do they do that? Of course, I have an Encyclopedia in my computer, but, somehow, I prefer the mystery of not knowing.
Perhaps there are some things in life that we simply must accept, rather than understand. I appreciate the value of education and wisdom, and I admire Heidi for unearthing the wonders of college math, but at this stage of my life, it’s all too overwhelming.
I’m even wondering if acceptance of Van’s condition is the answer; but I think it’s a different issue. Not understanding spider’s webs is one thing, as it doesn’t drastically affect my daily life; but living with the repercussions of Van’s tangled web of inner complexities is quite another challenge. One I probably wouldn’t choose, if given my druthers, so I opt for supporting his willingness to recognize, understand and change his limiting patterns.
However, I’m also aware that my own intricacies are difficult for most people to live with, so I appreciate that Van does an admirable job. For instance, he got up early in order to get himself ready for our morning trek to Kah-nee-ta, so I could swim and have a hot tub, before going to Prineville and getting on with business.

I could hardly wait to see how our changed patterns would affect our business efforts; and this day would give us some interesting answers, as Steve had arranged with Lloyd to attend the meeting in Bend, and we intended to be there, so Van could accompany him. His wife, Dee, would not be able to go, as she would be staying home with her visiting grandchildren, so I would remain behind too, and let Lloyd and Van tend to business.
Life seemed exhilarating at this new level of inner freedom. In fact, as Van bounced around the motor home, getting ready for his day, he too, seemed to be expressing new energies and enthusiasm, as he peered out the window at the forest scene, with the sun shining through the trees, while chewing his banana and muffin, and swigging his aloe juice, plus his teaspoon of vinegar.
I shuddered; that acidic concoction would kill me, although I’d begun diluting my aloe juice in my glass of water, with no bad side effects. On the contrary, my acid reflex condition seemed to be improving; one more plus for life. This one I could thank Dr. Garner for alleviating, with his good suggestion to dilute the mixture.
So, as we again left the woods, this time heading east, I looked forward to our new adventures with a new freedom of Spirit.

Chapter 21
WILL THE REAL ME PLEASE STAND UP!

Who Am I?
The real me is the Wonder Child, at one with the Father, God, and yet expressing myriad qualities of individuality; like the droplet of ocean water in relationship to the ocean; or the grain of sand to the beach. It contains and expresses the Christ Presence; God individualized, and yet has its own identity. What a complexity! And within that identity exists the personality, the ego, and the conscious, subconscious and superconscious selves, along with the inner child. Added to that, there are the habits, patterns, addictions and syndromes that seem to control our lives.
And, of course, there are the roles and titles that one must fulfill: child, parent, grandparent, husband, wife. And, as we progress through life we may take on other roles: student, teacher, boss, employee; and such individual titles that our career may have bestowed upon us: doctor, lawyer, merchant, writer, minister, actor, clown. Or, one may have become involved in the family business.

For some, such as Adam and Michael Martin, the family business, of their father, meant becoming a criminal. And their inner freedom came when they realized that a life of crime, contrary to their bid for control and power, actually took away their control, power, and even freedom, when apprehended and incarcerated. But that’s another story.
The truth is that other children, who take on the family business, may not be fulfilling their own preference; they may be doing what the father wanted for them, in order to live out his fantasies or expectations. And sometimes, when inner restlessness says, “I want to be something else,” the adult child begins to rebel. And this can happen to anyone, when the call to inner freedom is heard.
I once wrote a book titled, “Saying ‘Yes’ to Myself,” about discovering Joanie, my inner child, and the process of helping her to heal those uncompleted cycles of childhood that got disrupted by life’s traumas. As a result of paying attention to Joanie’s needs, I have a much healthier and happier relationship with myself. And in return, she taught me to have fun, even in business. I’m so used to listening to Joanie’s needs, and taking care of them, that I don’t give it a second thought, like her request for an ice cream cone.
I’m convinced that healing and freeing the inner child is truly the Fountain of Youth; it keeps us young at heart, and allows one to be a fully integrated person.
While with my granddaughter, Heidi, in Hood River, I hadn’t been giving much thought to my many roles, although I was reading articles in my monthly spiritual magazine, with the theme, “Who do you Think you Are?”
Then, when I read today’s Daily Spiritual Reading booklet, “My true self, the real me, is a radiant child of God,” I began to get the message that I’m to write about this subject. So, I took time for my meditation, and the ideas began to flow; a kaleidoscope of pictures from the previous day had flashed before my eyes. I could see the many roles I had filled, including fun for Joanie, while taking care of business.

Suiting-up for Business
It all started in the cool woods at Bear Springs, but we soon moved on to Kah-nee-ta Hot Springs, where I suited up for a swim and hot tub. I was happy to escape the heat in the pool, while leaning against the edge, and kicking my legs for exercise. Since swimming seems to cause the acid reflex to become so uncomfortable that I often have to get out of the pool, I was keeping my exercise low-key, and focusing on soaking in the water to relieve my painful tight shoulders, and wondering what was associated with this condition.
I’d noticed another lady, also holding up the pool wall, but was surprised when she opened a conversation. I honestly try not to start right off saying “My parents used to own this place, and I grew up here,” but what am I supposed to do when she asks, “Are you from around here?” At least, it was a good conversation opener, and at first I said, “Actually, we live in our motor home,” but as we continued talking, she revealed that her mother, dad and mother-in-law drove here, for their health, on a regular basis, from Goldendale, Washington, which is across the Columbia River from Bigg’s Junction, where we had headed to Moro, Shaniko and Redmond on our last trip to Hood River.
One thing lead to another, and I felt that I must divulge my background at Kah-nee-ta. And, of course, despite Joanie’s efforts to focus on having fun, the subject invariably got around to health, so I soon extolled the virtues of our products, and she even seemed interested in the business possibilities. Since they were only here for the day, and we would soon be moving on, we agreed to find each other, later, after lunch, for me to give her more information.
Later, during lunch, I took the material to their table, and she handed me a card with her name and address, and a promise to send me her e-mail address. This prospect was taking on the appearance of a strong possibility. Little did I know! Here’s a cliff-hanger; but read on.

Are There Cliffs in Prineville?
Yes, there are cliffs in Prineville; actually, no, because it’s in a valley, but there are cliffs around it. However, that’s not the point of this story.
We were here to accompany Lloyd to the meeting in Bend, about 36-miles away. At least, it’s a lot closer than Dottie and Steve had to go for their meetings in Colorado Springs, which was a two hour drive. The cliff-hanger relates to the fact that Lloyd knew the lady from Kah-Nee-Ta and they planned to get in contact re the business.

All of the Above
In the opening paragraphs, I mentioned my various roles and titles; our visit with Gail gave me an opportunity to put several to work, all at the same time. Although our first day there went as usual: me not knowing exactly what space she was in, or how she would react, we seemed to be relating better. I’m convinced that’s because of God having removed that pattern: “They don’t want me,” and all related aspects; because it didn’t seem to be interfering with our relationship. Hooray!
I wanted to change more patterns by doing our laundry at a Laundromat, but Gail suggested I do it there. And later we took her to dinner at Big O Cafe, rather than going through the meal ordeal of her fixing it and wearing herself out. In fact, she revealed that she had severe flu for a week, and had been feeling depressed and suicidal again.
Somehow, the timing seemed God-Guided to be here at this time and fulfill the Mother role by supporting Gail, so I invited her to go with us to stay a few days at Indian Ford Campground, and she was delighted. But this meant she had to buy cigarettes to take along, and cat food (to leave with her cat-sitter), so she needed to borrow money, until her Social Security Disability Check arrived. Our own finances were limited, but I decided to change any money-control pattern, too, that might be lurking between us, and we lent her the money; though I felt a tinge of anxiety, because I didn’t want to activate the Underearner Syndrome that we had gotten caught into in the past. We’d already leant money to Marquam, which he hadn’t been able to repay, due to needing to save money for his deposits and rent payments.
Trying to use wisdom and keep a balance between being thoughtful, kind and generous versus bad judgment that can cripple my kids and rekindle my codependency, is a constant challenge that would be tested frequently in the next few days in my role as mother. But, I prayed for Guidance, and followed accordingly, especially relating to Gail’s depression and suicidal ideations. I had been taught that they should always be taken seriously; and Gail had acted-out on them in the past, during her bi-polar bouts.
I knew that OPC-3 would reverse the depression and change the chemical imbalance that caused the distorted thinking, so I asked Van about giving Gail some of ours, and also the extra bottle of Isotonix B-12. Somehow, at this time, and with my Inner Guidance’s urgings, I felt it was the motherly thing to do.
Making a commitment to this additional monthly payment (for Gail’s products) was really stepping out on Faith. I likened it to the Israelites in their ongoing Exodus from the bondage of Egypt to The Promised Land. They had overcome many obstacles along the way: from The Red Sea to The Wilderness; each being a Road Sign for us to follow on our Inner Journey to Freedom. Finally, after wandering through the maze of The Wilderness for “forty years” (a symbolic number meaning “however long it takes to get the job done” in our evolving consciousness), they faced the River Jordan, which separated them from their desired destination. Once their personal demons and inner limitations were overcome, they were told to step into The River, which symbolizes Personal Unconscious; the considerations, barriers, adverse mind/ego); the place in consciousness where we are willing to meet the results of our thoughts, face-to-face.
It’s for sure, after years of inner preparations and wanderings through therapy, support groups and Twelve-Step Programs, I felt ready to place my foot in the still swollen waters of the flooded River Jordan (before seeing the actual results of my efforts), just like the Children of Israel. Besides, I wanted to support Gail in this way, at this time. I’d been applying Tough Love, for my own survival, through her mental illness, by detaching and distancing; now it was time to be there for my daughter.
After all, if you can do something for your kids, without crippling them and becoming codependent yourself — and they are receptive to it — then it seems the right thing to do.
Van said, “Okay,” so in the morning I talked to her about my desire to be nurturing, and I explained that this is how I show love.
This, in itself, was a major pattern change, on a deep inner level, for everyone involved, especially when it comes to money-love issues; and we had jumped this hurtle. But there was much more to come.
Gail had been complaining about her back hurting, and at the campground I put on some of our Ultimate Aloe Gel. She explained that the rash on her back was from mosquito bites she’d gotten in Florida, and had scratched too hard, so they had become infected. But it didn’t relieve the intense pain, “like knives stuck in her shoulder blades,” she said, so later she asked me to spray some Solarcaine on her back.
I was doing the Mother Thing, but I was thinking about the fact that Gail has a pattern of making runs to the Emergency Room. In fact, her feet had swollen so bad, while in Florida, that she had gone to Urgent Care for relief. So, as far as I was concerned, it was just more of the same.
But she insisted that she didn’t want this campout to be about her health, and she was really trying to change the pattern. So, the first afternoon she went for a short walk to the creek, and helped fixed Buffalo Burgers for dinner, but the pain was getting more intense, so she gave up on the Aloe and just used Solarcaine.
The next day, she took a shower in our tiny stall; insisting that she spray it with disinfectant, “in case it’s staph.” Now, that got my attention, because I hadn’t worn gloves when applying the Aloe on her back, and she had been using our towels and toilet, so now our health was endangered. This was another matter, and I had a hard time not obsessing on the possibility of contagion. But, I kept saying, “No!”
Finally, she couldn’t stand the pain, so she drove herself into Bend to the Urgent Care Center, and didn’t return until after dark.
In the meantime, Van and I went about enjoying our favorite campground; gathering wood, and later building a bonfire in the fire-circle, while wondering what Gail’s story would be of her latest adventure in the medical realm. God knows, she had more than her share, including trips to Charter Hospital, and other mental health facilities. It’s just something the family accepts as part of Gail being Gail. In fact, when she told her story of leaving her daughter, Christina, in Florida, a week early, we just figured, “Oh well,” what else is new?” After all, it’s two manic-depressives trying to relate; and Christina wasn’t on medications, so the results were pretty much inevitable, and Gail admitted that she was ready to return home early.
I had even said to her, “If you want to leave the campground and go home, just say so; it isn’t worth getting sick.”

This Time it’s for Real
When Gail returned to the campground, she seemed becalmed, as she said, “You need to sit down for this one.”
I’d learned not to over-react to her traumas and hospital runs, so I said, “Is it contagious?”
She said, “No, and it’s not cancer.”
With the worst fears handled, I felt relieved, but by her seriousness, I figured it was “The Big One,” so braced myself for anything. After all, anyone contemplating suicide could set into motion the thought patterns for the universe to “give them what they want.”
She took her time getting her clothes changed, and finally settled down by the fire, and started the explanation:
“I told the doctor about having the symptoms that were even worse than flu, and about the mosquito bites, and being so tired and depressed; even suicidal. He poked around on my back and under my arm, and asked a bunch of questions. Finally, he said I have shingles.”
At this point she started to cry, and sobbed, “Of course, my first concern was whether it was contagious, because I felt so bad about taking a shower and being a threat to you guys, and he said it’s not contagious. But I feel so contaminated.” And then she cried some more.
I got up and patted her shoulder and reassured her that everything was okay, and then I said, “Well, that’s the bad news, but I have some good news.” She looked up, so I continued, “We attended a seminar given by a medical doctor, and he told us that our products will heal all Immune Systems, Nervous Systems, and other conditions, so just keep taking them.”
“But the doctor said there’s nothing they can give me to heal it. In fact, he asked me, ‘What’s your favorite pain pill?’” She cried some more, and sobbed, “I’m just too tired. I can’t go through this.”
I gave her another hug, and said, but he doesn’t know what we know. We have a thick book full of testimonials about every kind of disease and illness being relieved. Just trust that it will help you. Let me call Dottie, and she’ll tell you the same thing.”
Gail sobbed, “I can’t talk to her now. I just can’t tell her I have shingles.”
“Okay, I’ll tell her,” I said, as I got up and went inside to get the cell phone that miraculously got reception this time.
Dottie and Steve were standing by, and I said, “We’ve got a crisis here, and need some family support.”
I could hear the silence, so I said, “Don’t worry, no one is dead or dying, as far as I know. But, hold on, I’m walking outside.”
Once by the fire, I repeated Gail’s story of her visit with the doctor, and she would add tidbits of information. Finally, I handed her the phone and she got to hear her sister’s reassurance and support, with a few more sobs, throughout the conversation, and obviously feeling much better by the time they hung up.
Gail had been sleeping in her car, as a place to have her space, and give us ours, but I offered for her to sleep inside, under the circumstances. However, she said she would be okay in her car, so we said, “Goodnight,” and left her by the fire with her marshmallows, Hershey’s and graham crackers to make S’mores for her inner child, on an old bent clothes hanger that she’d found.

The Girls go to Town
When Van and I settle into a campground for an extended stay, we seldom take short jaunts into a nearby town, as it’s too difficult to unhook and secure our vehicle for travel. But Gail had her car, and she wanted to go to the ATM in Sisters, and do some shopping, since her Social Security Disability check had been automatically deposited. So she and I took off, leaving Little Ralph to several hours of alone time; an unusual opportunity, since we are always together.
Once her banking was completed, we took time for a stroll through the small town, and wandered into several of the tourist shops. Something Van detests, and waits outside, if I should go into a shop. However, since his retirement, he has acquiesced to doing the grocery shopping together, as it is one form of our low-cost entertainment; something to do.
Of course, Joanie had to have an ice cream cone, and Gaily (Gail’s inner child) had her ongoing soda fix. So this was a form of bonding between the estranged mother and daughter, as each endeavored to move beyond the barriers that had prevented us from enjoying a close relationship; not an easy task for either of us, but a necessary part of our individual and collective healing process. After all, we had a lot of past history to overcome, and this part of recovery is called love and forgiveness.
Finally, we returned to the car and she drove to Ray’s Supermarket, a member of Western Family, which combined the small town grocery friendliness with big city chain store’s discount prices.
I thought Gail was just going to pick up a few items, such as Solarcaine for her shingles, but Gaily began loading the grocery cart, and Joanie went into panic. For my inner child, the compulsive behavior caused a flashback to my natural mother’s erratic actions, when she was becoming mentally ill. At that time, when my caregiver was no longer reliable, I became confused and frightened, because the responsibility now was placed upon my two-year-old shoulders, and I didn’t know what to do. “Take care of your mommy, Joanie” had been Dad’s request, when he left for CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp, and I’d tried, but when she “went crazy” I took on the burden of guilt for having failed to fulfill my assignment.
Now, at Ray’s Supermarket, I was trying to conform to Van’s frugal shopping requirements, especially since it was close to our Social Security payment day, and I must conserve. As such, I’d thought I had an adequate supply of food for us, but Gaily wanted hot dogs and ham and eggs and all the normal campout goodies, which she said was for her vacation; and I’m sure it was important to her current healing process.
But the unexpected surge of expenditure threw me into panic, and the childhood confusion took over. Finally, I asked, “How are we going to pay for this?”
I knew that our funds were exhausted, partly from loaning her money, which still needed to be repaid; otherwise, we would be heading back into debt. Flashbacks of the trauma of bankruptcy, from overindulging Dottie and Steve at an earlier time, went before my eyes, like a drowning person’s life. Furthermore, I was acutely aware that Marquam’s current crisis had caused him to not be able to repay us for his recent money borrowing.
Now, I was in a dilemma: loving, generous mom versus frightened confused inner child. Needless to say, my mood quickly deteriorated, and I’m sure Gail reflected on past scenarios when my mood changes were devastating to her. Yet, I was trying to change the pattern; for both of us. And I was failing miserably, as I did when “taking care of my mother.”
However, Gail seemed to have everything under control, as usual, and replied, “I got some money from the bank, so I’ll pay for it, and you can pay me back, later.”
I was still in a panic, as I said, “Okay, you can deduct it from what you owe us.”
Always on top of taking care of her money needs, Gail said, “We’ll split it three ways.”
By now I was in overload, and trying to take care of myself, as I’d learned to do, I said, “I’m in confusion; you can take care of it with Van.”
Obviously, I was no longer having fun, and neither was she, so we rode back to camp in silence. Not a moody silence, but a pensive one, as we were each deep in our own thoughts. I have a feeling Gaily was planning her anticipated fun, rather than obsessing on my behavior. After all, Gail, too, had been through years of therapy, programs and support groups so she knew how to handle these situations.

Therapy or Support Group?
In fact, throughout the time in camp, Gail had been giving me lessons on relationship and anger management technics, such as Recognitive Structuring, which teaches how to shift thought patterns from negative and obsessive to positive and controlled; and insisted on role-playing to illustrate the point. The purpose being to enhance communications and diffuse the anger; definitely a form of changing patterns.
Sometimes, during our campout, if she felt threatened or overwhelmed with the close relationship interaction, she would apply the technics; and move on.
For instance, the night we returned from Sisters, she’d requested Little Ralph to build his fire, so she could roast hot-dogs and S’more’s. She loaded two wieners on a long, dry willow stick that she’d found. I’d learned, in years gone by, that the goodies usually fall off into the coals and ashes, in addition to burning. Not really my idea of fun, so I’d asked Van to roast mine, while I was preparing other food.
When I returned from a trip inside, I passed Gail stomping toward her car and mumbling. As the car doors slammed, I wondered if she were heading home; which has happened in the past. Joanie automatically took on the blame, assuming it was because she wasn’t behaving right; but when I reached the campfire, I spotted her two burnt wieners lying in the fire, with a short, charred wood point attesting to the campfire tragedy. And I knew that Gaily had an upset over the aborted feast.
As I gathered the burnt offerings from the ashes and put them on a plate, I wondered how I should handle this. With years of training, I concluded that the best thing was to let her work it out, and go ahead with our dinner.
But then, because of her past suicide attempts, I began worrying. Where is CoDa when I need it? I walked over to her car, and saw the windows rolled partially down, so I decided she wouldn’t suffocate, and returned to the picnic table, assuming that she had all the inner tools to process through her upset.
Later, she emerged and slowly moved through various stages of taking care of herself: down to the creek to wash off, over to the outdoor toilets, and finally returning to the campfire to roast another hot-dog. I said, “My campfire hot-dogs were always a disaster, so that’s why I had Van roast mine.”
Earlier, I’d spotted another bent wire coat hanger, and now handed it to Gail. Soon, she had it bent back into a loop, so the wieners wouldn’t fall off. I exclaimed, “That’s a really good idea, Gail, you could invent that and make a lot of money.”
The crisis had past, so Van and I went for a short walk, just to shift energies and give Gaily space; and to reconnect with each other.
The next day, she became acquainted with two gals camped nearby, and the rest of the weekend was about her building a relationship with them: going to the creek, sitting by their fire, and even riding into Sisters with them to hang out.
This gave everyone a needed break from the intensity of the togetherness, and served as a healthy part of healing her inner child; a feeling of successfully handling a relationship with normal people, rather than her usual support group friends.
My Idea of Roughing it…!
I always used to say, “My idea of roughing it is when Room Service is five-minutes late.” But now the luxury of Freedom provided my luxury, and when camping alone, we usually eat inside to avoid heat, flies, bees and other predators of the campers.
However, Gail insisted on making this a real campout, and cooked bacon, eggs and potatoes for us one morning, substituting ham another day, and combining the leftover meat with scrambled eggs another time. She did luxuriate with an electric frypan and toaster, which was hooked up to Freedom’s generator.
The last day was my turn for cooking breakfast outdoors, and I eased my way through refreshing my mind on making blueberry Belgian waffles in my griddle, with huckleberry syrup from Government Camp.
When in Bend, Gail had added another touch of luxury by bringing us a beautiful picnic tablecloth; not the usual red and white squares, but added squares of yellow, with muted fruits in each one; truly a delightful memento of our campout together. One morning she’d gotten up early and gone for a walk in the woods by herself, bringing back a bouquet and placing it in a retrieved empty bottle from the neighbors, and setting it on the picnic table.

The Pattern is Changed
In the past, when Gail and I have gotten together, one or the other usually leaves prior to the scheduled time. And, despite the fact I’d done major work at changing these patterns, and so had Gail, I still held my breath. It’s like waiting for the other shoe to fall, as we made it to the last day.
Now, the energies had shifted, as Gaily arrived with a carefully selected and arranged bouquet of wild flowers, which she gathered early in the morning, on a much longer walk than usual.
Having taken a course in flower arranging, and worked as a florist, she knew exactly how to arrange them, and take care of them, as she said, “You can turn these upside down and save them.” After explaining the story of each flower, and the orange ribbons (which she’d found on a tree), tied around the bouquet, she added, “You can spray it with hair spray to preserve them.”
We even had Van take pictures of us with the flowers to remember this special event in our lives. Then Gail loaded up her car for departure, and we returned everything to Freedom, and piled into her car for a last venture: to the headwaters of the Metolius River at Camp Sherman, about ten miles north.
It had been important to Joanie to share this special place with Gaily, although Gail was feeling tired and frazzled from the heat and the intensity of the “vacation,” or her inner process. In any event, we took the side road turnoff, and soon arrived at the parking lot. The paved, sloping walkway to the headwaters hadn’t seemed all that long when we had visited the site; but this time it was hot, and Gail’s ankles were swelling. However, she braved the trek, stopping to watch the chipmunks and talk with children and even adults along the way, which reminded me of my dad (her Grandpa Barney), who would easily converse with anyone.
Before reaching the actual headwaters, the sprawling Metolius River can be seen ambling along a meadow, with Mt. Jefferson rising majestically in the distance. What a classic scene! One that I photographed, again, framed by the surrounding evergreens.
And then the grand moment: peering over the railing at the large pool of water gently flowing from underneath the mountain; it’s actual source not known, but suspected as coming underground from the nearby Cascade Mountains.
Well, of course, I would be impressed by such a phenomenon: seeing the water of this graceful river flowing from its source. Again, a reminder of how we flow from the Source of life. I could see the similarity of this scene and the River of Life that flows through us; the source of the natural healing impulse that constantly reconstructs the organism. My textbook says “When a man in faith makes intimate connection between his mind and Father’s, he enters into the river of life. And he has the ability to take others with him into the waters that cleanse, purify, and vitalize (Revealing Word).”
Writing these words, several days after our “vacation,” again brings me to the realization of Oneness, and that I am Guided through these experiences and the words I write about them. How could I possibly have known that this chapter about the real me would conclude with this thrilling reminder: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Is there any doubt about our true identity?

It’s Not Over, Yet
Ordinarily, the above would be a powerful conclusion to this chapter, but for me, as a reader, it would not be complete, because I would wonder: “What happened next?”
Gail okayed Van taking our picture in this beauteous scene, and we returned up the steep sloping walkway to her car.
Then we circled around to Camp Sherman by the Metolius River, another picturesque scene with a General Store nestled amongst the pine trees, with tourists swarming everywhere. Gail informed us that she had actually been here, on an outing with her support group, and by now she was ready to head home, so she returned us to Freedom and went on her way.
The next day we returned to Redmond to collect our mail and tend to some errands and business. I wanted to return Gail’s electric frypan and Van wanted to take on water for Freedom, so I called.
Her answering machine said, “I am not taking calls today. Call tomorrow, after 11: 00.” I left a message that we would leave her items on the back porch, and not to panic. Once there I was greeted by an envelope addressed to Van and Mom, and a sign: “DO NOT DISTURB. LEAVE MESSAGE.”
Okay, enough of this. I’m sure she’s taking care of herself, but I must take care of myself too, so I asked the property manager for permission, and then Van filled our water tank. While I opened the envelope, I flashed back to another time when we were parked at her place in California, and she had left an envelope taped to our door. It was a lengthy explanation of why she wanted us to leave, including accusations against me that were unfounded in my reality, but truth from her distorted thinking. It had hurt me deeply. But this time she had left a “Thank you” card. To me this was a healing change of patterns.
After all this emotional interaction, I felt the need to regroup and nurture our inner kids, so we stopped for a sub at a snack shop, and then went to see “Runaway Bride,” with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
I had no idea that this movie would be a final caper to this chapter, but as the story unfolded, I smiled at the timeliness of Our Higher Power, even selecting a perfect visual aide about one’s identity. It’s a complex story, and I suggest you see it, for entertainment value, if nothing else. Not to give away the ending, I’ll just say that Julia’s character is not clear about who she is, or what she really wants, during most of the movie. And solving that problem is the plot, with lots of humor and wisdom throughout the process.
Thank you, God, for another opportunity to live and learn, as these chapters of life unfold.

Chapter 22
GETTING ON WITH BUSINESS

Parking Lot Transactions
Lloyd always manages to catch us in parking lots. This time we had completed our errands in Redmond, and decided to see a movie, and then complete our shopping next door at Albertson’s Supermarket. When we returned, the cell phone showed a “missed call,” from a number I didn’t recognize. It was Lloyd wanting us to come to Prineville for a barbecue and to give them more information about our business and products.
“We’re just hanging-out in Redmond,” I said, and added, “We have some more errands tomorrow, and then we can stay at the RV Park next to you, and be there for our evening appointment.”
“You can stay here in our pasture,” Lloyd offered, “and save yourself some money.”
The arrangements were made, and then Lloyd asked, “Is Ralph mechanical?”
“Not very, why?”
“I’ve got too much repair work, and could use some help.”
“Oh, well, maybe he can turn a wrench or screwdriver, if that would help.”
“Also, I could use some help getting my new computer system set up.”
“Well, I’m sure he can help with that. We’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.”
Dee, Lloyd’s wife, got on the phone to confirm the barbecue date, and then apologized for the hectic events of our last visit, when their grandsons were visiting, and that she looked forward to a quieter time on Wednesday.
I said that I understood the situation, and we said our good-byes.
Soon thereafter, Dottie and Steve called, and I reported the good news about our Wednesday appointment, and Lloyd’s interest to hear more about the business and products. They gave us congratulations and support, and then began preparing us with how to handle the sign-up, if he decided that he couldn’t wait for their return trip from Oregon to assist us.
At this point, timing had become an issue, because they were leaving for convention Wednesday morning, and would be away for the week. I was beginning to feel abandoned, because everyone was going to Convention, including Sherrie, and Paul and Teresa from Oregon.
As usual, the time crunch was enhanced by family crisis. For instance, Dottie reported that several members from their group weren’t able to make it, for one reason or another. But the big news was Arianna’s decision to break up with Jason, at this particular time, and the need to help get her moved, as she would stay at their house temporarily, before getting on with her life. I could understand why, at Arianna’s young age, that she had become weary of living with a passive-aggressive person, as it is totally draining and debilitating. So, the family supported her decision 100 percent. We liked Jason, but he hadn’t been successful in financially or emotionally supporting Arianna, as is the case with his personality type.
But, meantime, on with business: Van had sent Dottie a check via Overnight Mail, with the intention of it getting there in time for her to bank, as payment for our order (she’d sent by computer). Unfortunately, though guaranteed, it didn’t make it in time, so she had to rely upon Airica to deposit it, after they left on Wednesday.
“I wonder why all this timing and money chaos has to be generated around their trips?” I asked Van, as we reflected on some past extravaganzas.
Although we had been in Greensboro and attended some of the convention events, and we had a good time, this year we were satisfied not to make the financial and emotional effort. It was enough to survive the trauma of working with our local people in Redmond: Gail and Dick, as customers: and Lloyd preparing to become involved in the business.
However, Dottie had informed me that we would be expected at a Training in February, because they just learned that it would be in Tampa, Florida, where Christina (Gail’s daughter) lives. “Well, that means we’ll be heading South someplace along the line, and then to Florida in February,” I promised. Life was becoming more exciting by the minute, especially as Dottie and Steve passed along the necessary information for our meeting with Lloyd. At last, the business was beginning to happen; and we were ready.
It had been three months since we initiated the Business Accounting System, and the last time we tried to update, it was too overwhelming, and we gave up. But this time, we were in a better space, and we forged ahead, until everything was entered, if not balanced. Next time we could go further with our bookkeeping project.
In the meantime, we were moving on; to the Wal-Mart Parking Lot, where Lloyd first knocked on our door.

Thunder Storms and Lightning
When we had come out of the movie, we thought we were in a Twilight Zone; sunny skies had become overcast, the pavement was wet, and breathing was impaired by the smoke which now covered the Cascade Mountains. Apparently, while we were enjoying the adventures of Julia and Richard, there had been a severe thunder storm, and lightning had struck fires nearby, in the mountains, including Black Butte, next to Indian Ford and Camp Sherman. We were glad that we had been guided not to return there; choosing Wal-Mart, instead, which would be closer for our drive to Prineville the next day. Although our appointment would be on Wednesday, Van would have time to work on Lloyd’s computer.
However, the next afternoon, as we prepared to head to Lloyd’s, the storm clouds again, gathered over the mountains to the west, and even north toward Kah-nee-ta, and east around Prineville.
I’d been updating my chapter, when Van said, “Here it comes.”
I roused from my writings, and asked, “What?”
“The rain.”
Because of the dark storm clouds, I feared more lightning strikes, so I shut down my computer and ran inside, as the rain began to pelt my back and head. Van locked up Freedom, and joined me. I decided this would be a good time to buy some items, as we had plenty of time. And I insisted that Van use our cell phone to call Lloyd and let him know that we would wait out the storm here, and drive there Wednesday afternoon.
“Might as well have a snack here,” I suggested, eyeing the intense dark sky from the safety inside the front doors.
The cell phone rang, and it was Dottie. In the midst of everything else going on to interfere with their preparations for departure the next day, Gail had called her, thinking we had returned to Indian Ford, based on my message the day before. Dottie added, “I told her you were at Wal-Mart, but she was pretty upset, you’d better call her.”
I’d called Gail, but got her answering machine, “Mom, there’s fire all around Indian Ford. Get the Hell out of there!”
Once settled at MacDonald’s (in Wal-Mart), I called again, and then listened, while she unraveled a story that would have been funny, like an exaggerated dark comedy, had it not been for the trauma she’d been going through.
I explained our change of plans, and then, between her sobs, and anger, she blurted out the reason for putting out her “Do not disturb” sign: “When I got to Bend, for my appointment with my new counselor, no one was there. I finally found some of the staff in a meeting, and asked about my appointment. They said Elizabeth had the flu. I was very upset that she hadn’t called me to cancel the appointment. I’d made it to Bend on fumes, my gas was so low. It seems that wouldn’t be asking too much.” The story went on and on, as Gail vented her anger about the therapist.
Finally, she told of her anxiety about us, “I was having dinner at the Big O, when I overheard people talking about a fire at Black Butte and Camp Sherman. I thought you were there, so I went home and called the Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Department, and even the Red Cross, trying to find someone to do something about getting you out of there. I thought about driving up there to warn you, but they said that the fire wasn’t bad enough to evacuate, as yet. I tried to call you, but I can’t get long distance on my phone setup, and Sandy had gone to Montana; so I went over to the manager’s and called Dottie.”
I was deeply touched by her concern, and I had a feeling this was part of God’s Plan to heal the ongoing breach between us, as Gail said, “I kept calling my friend, Henry, in Bend, to see what he’d heard on the news about the fires, and he said it was still going on. As I told Dottie ‘despite our differences, I didn’t want you burned up in a forest fire.’”
Once her story was finished, we talked about getting together to return some other items she’d forgotten, and she had the money to repay our loan, so we agreed that she would either stop by on her way to Bend, if she went, or we would come by in the morning.
But, soon after we had returned to Freedom, she drove by and handed me the envelope, and I gave her the sack of stuff, and she said, “I talked to Henry again, and he said there’s a Severe Storm Warning, so please come down to my house, as it’s not so bad there.” Then she emphasized, “Just get in Freedom and come now!”
Again, I was touched by her concern, and looking at the still stormy sky, I said, “Okay, we’ll be right there.” I was actually relieved to be nearer to safety, should there be more lightning; we are so vulnerable in our motor home.
As we drove to Gail’s, I said to Van, “This is a very intense situation. And judging by the timing factor, I’m sure this is part of God’s healing process for us both.”
Gail was right, the weather wasn’t bad, only a few miles north, at her place. She’d said that she was going to bed, so we started settling down, but soon she knocked at the door, and said, “I’m going to bed, now, but if it gets stormy, just knock on my window,” and she pointed to the bedroom window and added, “and you can come inside.”
I gave her a hug, and said, “Thank you; I really appreciate your concern.”
Fortunately, there was no more storm; in fact a giant rainbow arch appeared over Gail’s apartment, and I knew that, as it was a symbol to Noah that the flood was over, so it symbolized that our storm was over too.
Sure enough, the next morning we found another note on her door, indicating that she had been awake most of the night and was now sleeping, but welcoming Van to come in and take a shower.
I’d written a “Thank You” note on a card with a giant blue butterfly, and when I took it inside, she was awake and in a good mood, so I sat down and chatted awhile.
Gail is very knowledgeable, especially about mental health and recovery issues, and she talked about the phenomenon of people not necessarily being receptive to the help and relief offered through OPC-3, and our other products, and, in fact, being hostile.
I agreed, “I know, they have worked long and hard to find something that fulfills their need for attention, nurturing, or other deep-rooted needs. Bottom-line, it’s their love substitute. And healing is a matter of choice.”
“Right. So don’t be disappointed if your efforts aren’t appreciated. Actually, I’ve given up trying to ‘fix” people.”
We were definitely on the same wave-length in understanding this issue, yet, I knew that others do want relief from their affliction, and I rejoiced that Gail had made the choice to continue with the products, as I said, “So much of your life has been about your health and getting well, what do you see yourself doing, if this were no longer necessary?”
She replied, “You’re right, but my disease has given me the opportunity to learn so much about myself, and it’s taken me into areas that I would never have gone, otherwise, like becoming a florist, as a result of therapy; and also learning to play the guitar and sing; and even meeting Chuck in Charter Hospital. These are all valuable parts of my life. But answering your question, I plan to go to college this fall and major in Art Therapy. Then I can use all the things I’m interested in for healing, in a more positive approach; like Aroma Therapy, flowers, art, and even religion can be included.”
“That would truly use all of who you are,” I exclaimed, and added, “and this area desperately needs someone who can offer that service, especially with all the Californians who have migrated here. They are used to those services, but they aren’t available in this area. For instance, Susan, whom you know at the Big O, was pleading to get together to talk about such subjects.”
“I know, there just isn’t anything here, and I miss it, too.”
Gail glowed, as she discussed these possibilities for her life, and I could see her fulfilling these dreams. I rejoiced, knowing that our products, if she stayed with them, could restore her health so she could attain her dreams.
Yes, there truly is a rainbow, after the storm, in her life.
“Turned Out to Pasture”?
When we arrived at Lloyd’s, he came from his workshop, next to the house, and guided us around back, and into his pasture, where we parked under some welcome shade trees on this hot afternoon.
The remnants of the wild Crooked River flowed serenely through some willow trees at the far side of the pasture, below a juniper-clad dry hillside, and the sprinkler watered the lawn between us and the house, on the other side of Freedom. Behind us, the Crook County Park also offered green respite from the surrounding arid desert setting. But Prineville actually sits in a green valley, irrigated by the Crooked River, no doubt, and the nearby Prineville Reservoir, in the Ochoco National Forest, mostly junipers.
After I fixed lunch, Van visited Lloyd, who was desperately trying to complete some repair jobs, before leaving for Michigan the next week. Dee had returned from teaching Bible School, and was taking a nap, so I took advantage of the time to write a letter to my brother, Gary, who said he was ready to order some of our products. In fact, he had already sent in the PC Application Form, much to my joy. Soon he would be receiving his catalogue, which would answer his questions about prices and products.
Now, I was responding to his long tale of RV repairs, written in his unique story-telling ability, from his isolated perch atop a lookout in Lassen National Forest, directly south from here. Our RV repair woes were beginning to sound like “Can You Top This,” but I think he won with the need for a new engine, unless he could get help installing a used Buick engine he had inherited from our Brother Bill. However, this was one contest I would prefer not to win. Better, yet, that neither of us were suffering the consequences of RV repairs.
On the other hand, if no one needed repairs, then businesses, such as Lloyds, would not exist. So, perhaps it is all part of God’s perfect plan, which includes the symbiotic relationship of repairs and repairmen. It’s all just part of life.
With this in mind, after a delicious hamburger barbecue, prepared by Dee with my help cutting vegetables for the potato salad, we settled down to watch the video
When the title for this chapter came to me, because of our parking in the pasture, I thought about Lloyd saying that the doctors had told him that we would “just have to live with it,” and “it’s the price he must pay for having been around toxic materials in his past work.” Somehow, that isn’t a satisfying conclusion, though many have bought it, and resigned themselves to being “turned out to pasture.”
It reminded me of being told by a doctor, when in my twenties, that I had a “migraine personality.” Okay, so now I feel much better, right? Wrong!
And I remember a doctor telling Mom Freeland, “It’s just your age; nothing you can do to relieve the situation.”
It’s these uninformed conclusions, because doctors do not have education on herbs and natural remedies, that cause people, including myself and Dee, for instance, to seek alternative solutions.
In fact, I had recently heard on Dan Rather, no doubt, conservative figures stating that one medication is not going to have the same effect on all patients, because of the DNA. The report accounted for 2-million adverse reactions to medications, and 2,000 who had died; the worst killers being Codine, Prozac and Lapressor to mention only a few. What about the lives of all those people; don’t they matter? Now we know why it’s called practicing medicine; which reminds me of the old saying, “Doctors bury their mistakes.”
Well, not me, and not Lloyd, and not the others who have turned to our products for relief, which are alternatives; and they are definitely top of the list. In fact, Lloyd was so intrigued with the possibilities; not only for his health, but the prospect of being able to financially support his dream, with this business, that the next morning he announced that he wanted to sign up now, and send in his opening order, so it would be here when he returned from his high school reunion.
This caused two “turned out to pasture” sponsors to clear out the rusty machinery and hustle their memories and Manual in order to present all the necessary information, without the help of Dottie and Steve, who were now incommunicado in Greensboro, with their cell phone requesting that I leave a message.
Oh well, like I always say, “I, of myself, can do nothing; but the Father within doeth the works.” Thank you, God, it is done!

Celebration with a Light Show
We’d been imparting the information to Lloyd over several days, which eliminated overload, for all concerned.
I’d been busy with my projects, but soon I heard rolling thunder overhead, and then noticed, through the rear window, sheet lightning mixed with angry forked bolts coming from the direction of The Cascades. At first I enjoyed the light show, but soon a fierce wind started blowing Freedom, and then the thunder grew louder, and the lightning closer; and intermittent rain began pelting the roof.
I do not enjoy thunder and lightning storms, and their energy messes up my metabolism, so that I can’t even think. Finally, the storm grew so intense, and getting closer, so I decided to make a dash for the house, before the rain got any heavier. This wasn’t according to The Plan, but it’s how the events happened.
. The tedious form filling continued, as the thunder and lightning applauded and cheered, when Lloyd solemnly placed his signature on the line. After all, this was a tremendous event in our lives, and the universe was helping us celebrate.
Later, when we had completed the formalities, Dee arrived home and announced, “I have a surprise,” which added a festive atmosphere to this life-altering occasion, as she served root beer floats in colorful glasses.
Of course, I forgot to bring my camera to capture the moment, but somehow, it didn’t seem appropriate, at this time, to take pictures, because Lloyd was quite exhausted from the stress of the day. But, the thunder and lightning continued to add its light show to celebrate the event, as we had finally experienced our first sign-up process.
Shoveling Snow and Mowing Lawns
Van had agreed to help Lloyd setup his new computer, and they had been working on it together mostly; or sometimes Van worked alone. Much to Lloyd’s delight, his new toy was finally working, and we sent him my August Newsletter via e-mail. This, too, was cause for celebration in Lloyd’s life.
But, he didn’t know the healing process involved for Van. It all went back to his childhood, when his parents rented an apartment. Unbeknown to Little Ralph, the lease agreement had stipulated that he would mow the lawn in the summer and shovel the snow in the winter, which he did.
However, one day he overheard his stepmother talking to someone about the arrangement. This revelation caused a traumatic reaction for Little Ralph, as he had not been asked, or even told, and thus he felt exploited, not to mention used and taken advantage of. This event heaped coals on an already burning flame relating to not having any choice in the matter, whether it be his parents’ divorce, his dad’s remarriage, or where he was shuffled in the process. Thus, the enforced arrangement triggered his underlying passive-aggressive behavior and added to his 3-R’s: resentment, resistance and rebellion. On the surface, he did what was expected, but underneath he seethed.
A major step in healing his inner child took place when the emotions relating to this enforced labor agreement, which had become a pattern, were revealed and released. Thereafter, whenever an arrangement was transacted that involved his participation, I always say, “This is not about you shoveling snow and mowing lawns, okay? You have a choice; you can always say “No.”
This reminder that he has a choice removes the negative energies, and he is able and willing to say “Yes.” In fact, he enjoyed setting up Lloyd’s computer system, because it cooperates with his passion to “fix things that don’t work and to make them workable.”
In addition, the freedom from this deep-rooted trauma allows Van to move a step closer toward healing his intimacy issue, and he is able to accept, and even enjoy, the partnership aspect of our working together in this business.
Therefore, the teamwork of signing up Lloyd and Dee into our business had been another step forward.

Dreams are Reborn
While preparing to leave Prineville, we wanted to impart some final assignments for Lloyd, before their trip. This part is where I flourish, so I gave him the first explanation of being able to answer “What is it?” And also developing his “story about getting into the business and what the products are doing for him.
Immediately he said “I knocked on a door in Wal-Mart’s parking lot …” and I laughed, because I had already told Van that would probably be part of Lloyd’s story. But he already had much more. For instance, he had Dee keeping an account of his health progress, and he surprised us with the announcement that in all areas he had already felt improvement. Hooray!
Needless to say, he had a big smile, because this meant that he now had a possibility of fulfilling his dream: to travel around the country in an RV, which is why he had knocked on our door to ask about our Holiday Rambler. God does work in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.
The last thing we did, before leaving, was to arrange to meet with them, on their return, while in the Portland area, as it would be Dottie and Steve’s last day there, and the Transfer Buy could be completed, along with other instructions from them. It’s amazing how God’s time schedule allowed for this meeting to take place.
We left Prineville with a great sense of fulfillment, not only for Lloyd and Dee’s dream possibilities, but also for our own. Indeed, this was another step toward, and proof that this business really makes dreams come true.

The Baggie Breakthrough
When Gail and I were shopping, I decided to throw caution to the wind and buy a box of baggies, and I walked away from the store feeling transformed by this upgraded lifestyle, since I had been re-using hand-me-downs from baggies containing leftovers from family and friends.
I hadn’t felt that we had been in a financial position to indulge in the luxuries, indeed extravagances, of baggies during our downsize in recent years; although I had previously enjoyed the comfort provided by Van’s lucrative income, as a computer programmer, in southern California.
But, Van’s down-size job layoff changed our financial picture, and we were now surviving on Social Security Retirement checks, which barely allowed one to live beyond poverty level. But, I am a survivor, and I made up my mind to not only survive, but to prevail.
Van and I took to the road in Freedom, and, after her relationship breakup, Gail headed from the fast-lane in southern California to the byways of Redmond, Oregon. Thus life went on, as we adjusted to our new circumstances. Roadmaps became our mainstay, and Gail’s support came from a Support Center.
However, politics and finances were causing changes at Rainbow House. Gail balked and refused to play the new game, especially when her former counselor moved on, replaced by a younger one, reminding Gail of her daughter, Christina. This didn’t work, because Gail’s experiences in attaining and maintaining her own recovery have given her far more knowledge and capabilities than her counselor. So, Gail decided that she had “graduated from the Support Center,” and was ready to return to college to major in Art Therapy and put her abilities to work supporting others.
Of course, this meant that she would be making new choices with her lifestyle, so when she fell over a makeshift rock fence by her apartment, she chose not to succumb to the ER run, but instead shouted a loud and lusty “NO!” She picked herself up, dusted herself off, applied cold-packs and took her Isotonix B-12, and moved on with life.
Our pattern changes became necessary with the ongoing repairs to Freedom, as mentioned throughout these last chapters. Finally, Van decided to shout “NO!” when it appeared that the water heater had given up. He too had a choice to continue the pattern, but changed the direction, and the water heater continued to give good service. Hooray!
Perhaps the major transition took place when we managed to take Lloyd through the sign-up, without the presence of an upline. We put into application what we had learned in our training, plus utilizing the cell phone; but mostly we were left on our own, while Dottie and Steve were attending the convention. Of course, being abandoned is a familiar pattern to both Van and I, but this time it seemed that God had ordained the circumstances, so we could depend entirely on Him. And He guided us through the process. Gail described this Divine Discomfort as pricks in the nest, as she talked about saying “Goodbye” to the place where she had received support for the past ten months, and moving on.
Now, we too, felt ready to move forward with our business. Soon we would be returning to the Portland area to follow-up with Marquam, who was now in his own apartment. And we looked forward to Dottie and Steve’s return from convention and their trip to Portland, where we would attend several business gatherings, and they would meet with Lloyd and Dee.
As I prepared to write about the purchase of baggies, I asked God how to proceed, and I was told, “This is the end of the book. You are ready to shift energies and move forward with another new beginning. Therefore, the title of the next book, Family Business on the Road, will expand on the direction you have started in this chapter, as you conclude this trip in Oregon and begin heading south to California.”
The words seemed right, and it felt good to bring completion to Business on the Road, not that I intended to give up having fun. Indeed not, for the fun will be enhanced, as the adventures continue.

“It’s Time to Let Go”
So I felt excited to be concluding this book and moving on. But I knew that I needed to add some wrap-ups. For instance, Van had been setting up our new return address labels in the computer; It felt somewhat scary to be moving into this high level position, but we were obviously ready. When it came time to apply them to my August Newsletters, Van asked, “Do you want the labels, or do you want them directly onto the envelopes?”
This option seemed to exemplify our new level of living; choices: “Do I want one size of baggies, or several? Do I want the logo on the labels or the envelope? Maybe both!
At this point, Gail stopped by Freedom to say “Good Morning,” and I commented on her energy shift, and how good she looked. She smiled and said, “I know.” She had passed through her process and was moving forward, as she added, “Like with the Support Center, “It’s okay to let go.”
I shared with her that I was writing the end of this book, and her smile faded, as she said, “That’s sad.”
Not wanting her smile to disappear, I said, “But it’s exciting; like the mouth of the Columbia where the energies, with their high momentum, flow into the ocean and become one. It’s an ending.”
Gail said, “But, I’d rather think of it as a beginning.”
I replied, “That’s the exciting part, when I start the next book, it will be like the headwaters of the Metolius, gently flowing from under the mountain, again gaining its momentum and becoming a full-fledged entity, like the Metolius River. I guess that’s why the end of this book, with its final chapter Family Business on the Road, will become the title of the next book. In other words, it’s already begun, and will now expand and flow onward.

Chapter 23
AN INTERLUDE

The Best Way Out is Always Through
Between an ending and a beginning is The Void, which I am titling, An Interlude, which describes a brief respite, as we traveled from Central Oregon to the coast for the fun part of business. And the truth is, as I’m closing this book, I’m not ready to start another book, for there is more.
So, the Interlude began, when we decided to head over the Cascade Mountains that we had been enjoying from the eastern slope, and spend a few days along the beautiful Oregon coast.
There is no easy route between Central Oregon and the coast, so we followed the old adage, “The best way out is through.” Therefore, we headed back through Sisters and Indian Ford, but kept going over the Santiam Pass, Elevation 4,617 ft.
All the way from Redmond, we kept our eyes on the dark clouds gathering around the Sisters mountains, hoping to pass them, before we got caught in whatever weather pattern they contained; whether thunder and lightning, or just heavy rain. In any event, I did not appreciate that we had left town late in the afternoon, when the weather is most deadly from lightning strikes and fires. So, I didn’t give even a wistful glance at the quaint tourist town or favorite campground we had recently shared with Gail.
On we drove, past the turnoff to Camp Sherman and the Headwaters of the Metolius, looking somewhat formidable, since the recent fires, and Black Butte Ranch with its luxurious hotel and restaurant. Soon we’d escaped the threatening black clouds, and relaxed, as we drove along the narrow, curvy mountain roads carved through the forest. Sometimes our progress was delayed by road crews making repairs, but otherwise the trip was uneventful.

Trout Creek Campground
I’d been perusing the map in search of a good campground on the western side of the Cascades, and we finally selected Trout Creek, as we could use our Golden Age Passport for half-price. Though Van was leery of the narrow road and overhanging branches, I walked ahead and then gave my wave of approval.
He followed me into a spacious site along the creek, surrounded by luscious green foliage and high pine trees.
Once we were settled, we scrambled down the dirt path, along wild raspberry bushes, to the roaring river with its rolling rapids interspersed with large smooth rocks and some areas damned for little wading ponds. Further along, the river deepened, and widened into a perfect swimming hole, though we didn’t brave the icy waters. Instead, we walked through the campground, past the 24 mostly empty sites, and returned in time to watch the sunset across the water, behind the pine trees. The setting was so relaxing that we went to bed soon after dark.
The next morning, when we finally awoke, it was almost noon, and Little Ralph suggested that we stay another night, but I had other plans, so we managed to get on the road, before our 2:00 p.m. checkout time.
Following a canyon along the East Santiam River, we marveled at the beauty of the water cascading over rocky falls or rippling along the shallow parts; and in one area, where it’s backed up by Foster Dam, it formed a giant lake, where fishermen lined its shores, while boaters zipped over the waves. No wonder they call it a recreation area.
Eventually, we reached the low-key town of Sweet Home, disturbed only by the ongoing construction work along its ongoing main street. The overcast skies and tall trees created a gloomy atmosphere in this small depressed lumber town proclaiming to be “The Best of Oregon.” Because it’s at the western side of the forest, it serves as a farm town for the nearby agriculture community. But, Highway 228, through farmlands, gives quick access to the large city of Eugene.
Here, on the West Beltline Road to the coast, we found Costco — too late to stop — and Wal-Mart and Price Choppers, where we stopped for supplies, and Fantastic Sam, where I got a haircut.
Finally, at commute time, we headed over the Coast Range, along even curvier and narrower roads; also busier, as this is one of the main highways, through thick forests and mountain passes, to the coast.

Winchester Bay
The highlight of this scenic drive is the Siuslaw River, as it widens and deepens, while approaching its final moments, before entering the ocean at Florence, a major seaside town. However, we didn’t get to see the ocean, as we turned south along Highway 101 and drove 20 miles, along winding roads next to the Oregon Dunes, visible through tall, thick evergreens, to Winchester Bay, my favorite place.
Joanie had her heart set on fried clams at the Sea Otter Cafe, but when we drove past, she was disheartened by a huge sign that announced: CLOSED.
Humph! Oh well, at least Salmon Harbor, with its RV parking sites, was nearby, so we checked it out, and talked with the Camp Host. She suggested Griffs, for good seafood, and we happily drove back around the harbor, parked, and went inside.
Joanie got her Super Clams, which were tasty oversized clam strips, with French fries, and shared Little Ralph’s Captain’s Platter, with an assortment of seafood. All this in a quaint little cafe overlooking the boats moored in their slots, where many people obviously lived on board.
The overcast skies gave way to darkness, soon after we pulled into a site above the fishing pier, and again, we piled into bed from sheer relaxation; a good feeling.
With morning’s light, before the sun broke through the clouds, the postcard scene came to life, as folks arrived at the pier with their fishing gear and chairs. Boats were backed to the launch and disappeared from the harbor into the bay, and the seagulls scolded, as they searched for food. RV’s, like us, were parked in various locations, for the nightly fee of $10.00 ($175.00 per month, which I would gladly pay, if we had the time to stay this relaxed), and the pervading peace and quiet engulfed us.
As the morning wore on, and the sun began to peak through, I captured the distant wooded hillsides, blue skies, fluffy cloud and still waters. Later, a Columbus ship replica sailed in for refueling and Van took shots of its progress into the docks, on the other side. I decided to update my writing, although I professed to be “on vacation,” and soon it was departure time. Darn! But there was more to see and do along the Oregon Coast, as we headed northward, retracing our tracks to Florence.

Tillicum by the Sea
It had been my intention to spend at least one night by the beach, where we could walk along the sand and water, and yet not spend much on parking. With this in mind, I had studied one of my Travel Guide books, and found Tillicum National Forest Campground. Yet, it wasn’t listed on any of our maps, so I was a bit apprehensive about the prospect of being able to stay there. Of course, during the summer, even if we did find it, would there be space?
The sun was shining, as we stopped in Florence for gas, though it was breezy, and we still hadn’t seen the ocean, partly because of the high sand dunes and also the trees that hid the view. But finally, north of Florence, we got our first glimpse of the sun shining across the water, and then we came to an open place where we could see the white water beating against the shore and the rocks.
Van maneuvered Freedom along the curves that clung to the side of the tree-lined mountains, as we both savored the sights of the Oregon Coast for about fifty miles, and I kept busy with the camcorder to record the postcard scenes. However, the Highway Department hadn’t anticipated 35 ft. RV’s when they built the roads, so we had no place to pull out at the several viewpoints. However, we had made the trip several years earlier in our car, so I didn’t feel disappointed when we now drove past the crowded Sea Lion Caves, for I remembered going down in an elevator into the cave where we could see and hear the barking sea lions, as the ocean splashed through the cave. It’s definitely worth stopping, and I’m glad that we did.
Another scene that we had to drive right past is the Haceta Lighthouse, but I managed to take some camcorder shots, for future remembering.
Eventually, we spotted Tillicum Campground, and to our delight we found a site with an ocean view, above the trees; not like several spots overlooking the ocean, but we were thankful for what we had. However, I made note that this would be a good campground to spend several weeks, especially at those spaces, although they had no hookups or private camping space, but they did look out at the ocean, and that’s what I enjoy.
Nevertheless, after we got settled, we took a long walk on the beach, along the tide pools, watching the kids playing in the sun warmed water, or frolicking in the waves. We laughed at a part Black Labrador dog that refused to enter the water, so patiently sat by the tide pool, until his master crossed and carried him to the other side, where they were riding an inner tube in the waves. But, the dog remained steadfast in avoiding the water; definitely not a water spaniel.
We returned home just in time for the fog bank to settle in, blocking out the sunshine. I felt sorry for the tent campers, but they seemed happy huddled around their campfires, under the shade trees. As for me, I preferred the comfort of our motor home, as I prepared a delicious potato salad and added cheese, olives and celery to make it a one-dish-meal, along with crackers.
There was only a sprinkling of pink clouds, above the fog, and then darkness settled in and we managed to stay awake long enough to watch a new Rockford Files on TV. Somehow, his Malibu Beach mobile home seemed appropriate viewing from Freedom.
As predicted, the rain came in the morning, and tenters grabbed their rain gear, as they busily erected makeshift tarp shelters. I turned up the heat thermostat and watched the sprinkles on our window, while eating a bran muffin and grapes; my idea of roughing it, as I always say.
Later in the morning, the rain stopped and everyone emerged from their shelter and resumed their beach activities. Despite our vacationing, I took advantage of the time to revise Book #1 of my Travel Series, while Van droned through his morning routine.

Seashore Cherie
The hardest part of finding an idyllic spot is the need to leave, but we were on a time schedule to return to Ed and Sherrie’s for the barbecue in honor of Dottie and Steve, so we took another beach walk, and then ambled up the highway to Waldport, where we had planned to visit Seashore Cherie, Sherrie’s friend, Sharon’s e-mail address). I felt like friends, after reading her inspiring forwards from Sherrie; but this would be our first meeting.
When we arrived, a day earlier than she had anticipated, she and her friend, Robert, were painting the bathroom, but they welcomed us to stay overnight on the driveway of her rental house, a few blocks away.
This was a good arrangement, but Van scraped Freedom’s bottom when backing in, damaging the fender guard, which set us both into a funk. Although it started raining, I still couldn’t understand why our energies were so messed up, but it thwarted my efforts to work on the book revision. Finally, I concluded it’s because of Friday the 13th. Best thing is try to survive, until it’s over, I decided.
Neither of us slept good that night, and when Robert stopped by the vacant rental house the next morning, announcing that Cherie had been called to baby-sit for a neighbor, we didn’t feel right being there, so Van carefully drove out of the driveway and down the steep hill to the Coast Highway.

Chinook Winds: Respite and Upheaval
We had driven along incredible postcard scenes, including the Heceta Lighthouse, Seal Rock, and outrageous coves or waves splashing against rock formations. Now, the tree-lined drive from Ona Beach to Lincoln City passes Devils Punchbowl, at sea-level, or Cape Foulweather, which it was; and through picturesque beach towns of varying sizes, such as Newport, Yachats and Depoe Bay, and finally the sprawling Lincoln City, which, many years ago, swallowed up many smaller beach towns into its incorporation.
For instance, I remember spending some time one summer with family friends at Nelscott, where I read Nancy Drew mysteries. But the town no longer exists as such, although I recognized the locale, as we quickly passed.
Our first stop, in south Lincoln City, satisfied Joanie’s craving for Mo’s clam chowder, at their famous coastal restaurants; and the tasty chowder lived up to my expectations, as did the location of Mo’s, along the Siletz Bay that flows into the ocean. The side order of thick sliced homemade bread completed the meal for us, but one can order other seafood specialties, such as shrimp.
After our lunch, it didn’t take long to find Chinook Winds Casino at the north end of town, along the beach. And the RV’s on the crowded RV parking area were easy to find too; but the only place left to park was a small corner, at one entrance to the facility, where cars and other RV’s pass in and out. Although I thanked God for saving us this spot, I was apprehensive about the narrow passageway, but decided to turn it over to God.
Joanie and Little Ralph zipped into the lodge and toured the spacious facility with charming ambiance depicting its Indian culture. Joanie opted for an ice cream drumstick, and Little Ralph had a partial glass of a complimentary soda. But we agreed to return the next morning for their Sunday Buffet Brunch.
In the meantime, we walked across the parking lot and down the stairs to the beach, where we ambled along the sandy beach watching the kids and dogs and people enjoying the sunny respite from their daily routines.
One can become totally absorbed in watching the waves splash over the large rock formations near the shore, and counting how many it takes, before the big one covers the rocks. We’d wandered quite a ways along the shoreline, before slowly returning. As we approached a retired couple with their two dogs, I thought about Dottie’s dog, Rascal, and stopped to ask, “What kind of dog is this?”
“It’s a Queensland Heeler, spelled with e’s,” she replied.
I explained that my daughter’s dog is an Australian Shepherd, and we talked about their similarities and differences, as I pet the friendly dog, and confided that her dog is aptly named Rascal.
She smiled and said, “This one is Sassy, referring to the second dog, which was part Australian Shepherd, Setter and Queensland, making it more mellow than the hyper thoroughbred, but actually having more qualities like Rascal, which I recognized as I stroked it’s short fur.
“Actually, Sassy has long hair, like her tail, but we had it cut for summer, as we live in Phoenix.”
I asked, “Oh, do you live in an RV?” She nodded, and I asked, “How do the dogs like RVing?
“They love it,” both owners replied with smiles. Then the husband said, “Merle was a cow dog and lived on a ranch with our daughter and her family, but she went back to school and didn’t have time to take care of him, so we inherited him. Now he’s a city dog, and he’s adapted very nicely.
It felt good chatting with these friendly people and petting the friendly dogs, but it was getting time for dinner, so we returned to Freedom.
As it neared show-time at the casino, the parking lot filled, and before we knew it, cars had parked between us and the wall, thus narrowing the passage. As the sun set and twilight limited visibility, I began to fret, but Van said it would be okay. Then a camper tried to squeeze through, and we heard a loud thud and scrape alongside Freedom.
I let out a yelp, and Van jumped up, put on his shoes, and went outside, but too late. The culprit had left. Although another RVer had tried to whistle him down, he was gone. However, he left behind a round plastic rod that had been ripped out of their camper. Thank God it wasn’t ours. And on closer examination, Freedom’s only damage was a scrape along the edge, which wasn’t too bad. “Thank You, God,” I sighed, but still wondering why it had to happen in the first place.
Some of the other RVers, having heard the noise, came outside to survey the situation, outraged that the cars had parked along the wall, and that no sign indicated not to park there. Yet, the blame must ultimately go to the bad judgment of the driver for squeezing through the narrow space. I still wondered why we had created it, and felt somewhat guilty for having fretted about the tight space.
But then again, Van had been in this weird mood that caused damage to Freedom’s lower fender, and now this.
As the others chatted and examined the damage to Freedom, and the leftover handle from the camper, I began to notice that I was feeling spinney and my eyes weren’t focusing. Oh, oh, I need to lie down, I thought, and carefully got myself inside and onto the sofa. Van had decided to stay outside, until the casino show was over and the cars had left that parking spot, so I tried to regain my equilibrium by taking some natural supplements, and wondering, “What caused this?”
I finally remembered that the ice cream drumstick, though delicious, had a wad of chocolate at the bottom, as well as the topping. Oh no, I’d been avoiding chocolate, but thought I could try it again; now I questioned, “Does this mean I have to give it up completely?” I concluded that it did, so that resolved that issue.
Finally Van returned, and announced that the car had been moved. I asked, “Do you think these mishaps are related to your mom sending us another check to help with the last repairs?”
“Could be,” he replied, “but I don’t know what to do to change it.”
“How about asking God to remove that pattern?” I suggested.
Somehow our respite had been damaged, like Freedom, but we were all surviving, with God’s help.

Things Look Better in the Morning
The sun was peeking through the clouds when we awoke, and the RV’s next to us had left, so that we could see the ocean through the break between the buildings along the coast. All the other cars had left, and peace prevailed.
We walked to the casino and found a short line for the buffet, much to our surprise. And the food was delicious. Truly, it was a new day and things were going well. We’d heard it was low tide, so decided to take a walk along the beach.
Joanie gathered gifts from the sea, such as purple shells and colored rocks, while Little Ralph seemed at peace with the sunshine, sand and waves. It was a pleasant morning, and we were reluctant to leave, because it would be the end of the beach, and the end of our vacation, when we headed back toward Portland.

Back to Business
Because Dottie and Steve should have arrived in Portland, after driving through from Colorado, I took the cell phone with me to the beach, awaiting her call. I always have my judgment about people who do that, and, yet, here I was doing the forbidden.
However, it was a good idea, because Dottie called. And after hearing that they had a good trip, she asked if I’d made several calls to set up appointments with family members who might be interested in the business. This brought me back to reality, and I knew that our pleasant interlude was over; so we returned to Freedom, and I made the necessary calls and set the plans in motion for the appointments.

Well, Not Quite
Between Lincoln City and Portland is Spirit Mountain Casino, and I’d heard they had a big RV parking lot. So, besieged with returning weekend traffic, we decided to give ourselves one more night of Freedom.
Most of the weekenders had left, and we parked in a corner with a peaceful view of a field and green trees on the nearby mountains. Then we went inside to explore and purchase an Asian dish with some steamed rice, which I added, with shrimp, to some potato soup stock. And we settled down for one more quiet evening, before ending our interlude.

Chapter 24
WIN SOME; LOSE SOME: NEXT

I was excited to tell Marquam that he had a new downline. But he had been in transition, while moving to a new apartment, and unreachable by phone. However, much to my delight, he called, while we were parked at Spirit Mountain, and gave me his new phone number. I happily told him about his new downline, but the news was met with little enthusiasm, which I attributed to his focus on moving and the trauma of having to make that abrupt and unexpected change.
Later, I thought of something important to share with him, so called back. Finally, he mustered up the courage to say, “Mom, I don’t want to do this business. I’m quitting!” Stunned, I tried to find out what happened, but he was adamant, as he firmly said, “I just want out. It’s not the company and it’s not the products, and it’s not you and Van. It’s me. I don’t want to do it!”
I’ve tried to support my kids in their decisions through the years, so my first reaction was, “Okay, we’ll talk about it when we see you. There are steps that need to be taken.”

“If They Don’t Want it, Let Them go”
In the meantime, I reached our upline, Dottie and Steve, for support and advice. They had recently returned from the company’s International Convention and were pumped from the executive’s enthusiasm, along with their conviction that “people must want this business, not just need it,” so if they don’t want it, let them go.

Supporting Without Crippling
This didn’t work for me, after all this is my son we’re talking about here, and my mother’s instinct was raising its feathers. And besides, I knew exactly when he decided not to continue with the business. It was when Van told him that if he didn’t get his Form sent in on time, then not only would he lose his bonuses, but so would we, and everyone upline. The responsibility of causing all that loss for his mom and sister, and others was too overwhelming, and he couldn’t cope with it, although he wasn’t consciously aware that this was the defining factor.
Of course, this wasn’t his only concern. The most immediate issue was fear of not having extra money in his account to cover the automatic withdrawal for his monthly purchases, as the basic financial qualification requirement.
I also knew that he had gone through a major trauma, recently, when his living arrangements were disrupted. So my intention was to buy him some time, as Dottie and Steve had done for us, while we got ourselves into a better financial and emotional position to carry our part of the business. With this in mind, although it is not considered duplicable, I decided to place his sister, Gail’s monthly purchases, which we were financing. This would be a win-win for everyone, at least temporarily, until he would be in a position to manage his own business. And, if not, then we would make other arrangements.
When I first made this offer to Marquam, he balked, “No, I just want out.”
But, once I explained that he would put out no money, and we would handle his Form he agreed to go along with it, as long as we didn’t bug him about doing the business. Then with the pressure removed, he said, “I may buy some products, when I have the money.”
“Okay, you will be able to buy them at wholesale,” I said. “All you have to do is order them. And, if someone does want to buy some from you, you can keep the profit.”
OOPS, I’d gone a bridge too far, as he responded, “I don’t want to sell any products.”
“You don’t have to,” I reassured him. But someone might ask you about them, or you might talk to someone who has a health challenge, and you can tell them about the products, if you want to. It’s up to you.”
He seemed satisfied, so the agreement went into effect.
I had been happy when I felt Guided to invite Marquam into the business, and delighted when he said, “Yes.” And accordingly, I was devastated when he said, “No,” but I had left the entire process in God’s care, so I knew that He would Guide us, as we followed the company’s
policy in handling the situation.
Handling Marquam’s withdrawal Forms was Van’s job. I knew this was part of God’s Guidance, because Van had once been a Financial Manager, but after his downsize-job layoff, he’d been traumatized and unable to function in these formerly simple tasks; as if he had been paralyzed. So rebuilding his skills was much like rehabilitating a person from physical paralysis.
We had gradually begun by creating our own monthly Spending Plan and faithfully attempting to live within it on our meager Social Security Retirement check, which we did, until the motor home repairs far exceeded our income. Fortunately, his mother advanced money from his inheritance for this purpose, and we survived, while attempting to build our business.
Our second big step was to create our Business Spending Plan and maintain it. Another challenge, since we hadn’t yet reached that level of income, but were buying our monthly products for personal use, and also spending money for meetings, trainings and travel. All of this is normal business investment, but we had to depend on God’s Guidance to provide for these expenses. It took three months to get the Business Spending Plan updated, and we both seemed to reach a higher level of capability, as a result.
Now, we had to apply this technic to our business partnership with Marquam, which created a further challenge. But, again, we were depending on God’s Guidance, as Van set about preparing the figures, which he would present to Marquam.
We’ve learned through the years, and especially as a result of my “Changing Money Patterns” courses that I’d facilitated and written in book format, that dealing with people’s money issues is dangerous. And attempting to support them in changing these money patterns is challenging. But it’s all part of business management, and this was where we found ourselves as we prepared to meet with Marquam.
First, I prayed for Divine Order and Harmony, and then we proceeded. Van began writing down each step and factor of the various financial transactions relating to Marquam’s business, making sure they were clear and understandable. In time, the pages were complete, and we felt good about the win-win solution to finalizing the money issues relating to Marquam’s business.
The next day we met with him, at his new apartment, as planned, and Van went over the figures with him. It wasn’t quite as he had anticipated, because he wanted to acquire some money when returning the unsold and unused products. He hadn’t taken into account that he still owed us for the original products that we bought for his initial investment, and that he had used or given away; a sizable amount. So, rather than his receiving cash, it was deducted from the investment loan, which was only fair: to us, and also to him, for it supported his repaying his debt, without additional stress and guilt.
I had stayed outside and allowed Van and Marquam to handle this transaction, and when it was over, we all felt relief. The rest of the evening Van assisted Marquam with some computer questions and helping him to understand how to access his many files, while I sat around doing nothing; but I was observing and thinking, and wondering if I’d made the right decision about keeping him in the business, especially since he didn’t want to be in, and he wouldn’t even use the products.
Perhaps I must release him to do his things, be it play his computer or whatever. It was a difficult process of a mother releasing her son, again; but from all indications, Marquam simply wanted to play, when he wasn’t on his job. A Networking business doesn’t allow that option, at least, not in the beginning.

Isn’t It Right
The next morning, Van and I attended another Training, a repeat of the first two, and I was reminded that this business is complicated and demanding, and requires a commitment and willingness to cooperate with the requirements of the proven business plan
I had to admit that I was being codependent trying to carry Marquam’s business for him, if he wasn’t willing or able, to do it himself. This is made perfectly clear in the training. As they say, “He has to want it for himself.” And he obviously didn’t want it, nor would he want it at any time in the future, so give it up, Joyanna.
I felt sad, but I knew I had to let go, as Gail had said about her need to move on. I thought I had learned this lesson more than once; but it seemed I needed to learn it again. I had already thanked Marquam for having been willing to sign-up, which allowed us to become activated and qualified for our first check. And I realized that our investment of time and money had not been for nothing, because we had gained experience throughout the summer, as we had trained him, and attended trainings with him.
So, now I thanked God for Divine Order and Timing, and for another ending; one that I had not anticipated, as we again prepared for a new beginning.

Chapter 25
DOTTIE’S BACK IN TOWN

Barbecues and Lunches
Dottie and Steve brought their teenage daughter, Airica, who had traveled with them in hopes of seeing family members along the way. They arrived in town, in a swirl of activity, and were in the process of fulfilling their plans to visit family and friends, within their limited weeks’ time.
While we were at Spirit Mountain, they spent the first day at a fish barbecue with Steve’s family: three kinds of fish, including smoked salmon, and the usual multitude of goodies, which they enjoyed, while reconnecting with his parents, brother and sister, nieces and nephews.
We were invited to another barbecue for Dottie and Steve, and Airica, at Ed and Sherries, who were originally friends of Dottie and Steve, but had become our friends, as a result of helping Marquam sign up, when we were still in Colorado. Then they invited us to park on their acreage, when needed, and we had enjoyed their hospitality.
Sherrie had invited their business partners, and she had prepared enough food to feed an army: hot dogs, hamburgers, boneless ribs and delicious potato salad, baked beans, and home baked rolls, cinnamon buns and blackberry cobbler, besides all the trimmings.
Dottie was in her glory renewing acquaintances and making new ones, and glowing in the glory of their successful business. And Steve happily relaxed, while sharing man-talk with his old buddies
I focused on eating, and chatting with my granddaughter, Airica, but after about fifteen minutes, she was bored and spent the rest of the time on the cell phone, or Sherrie’s computer sending e-mail.
The next day, Dottie and Steve had lunch with her dad, Randal, and brother, Marquam. And another day, we enjoyed an impromptu sandwich snack from the deli, while spending an unexpected few more hours with them by the pool at their motel. Dottie basked in the sun on a lounge chair, as we discussed business, and they chatted on the cell phone with the many calls that had now become part of their busy lives.
The rest of the week, Dottie was busy attending her reunion, and then going to the beach with her friend, Lana. The entire trip was a good time of renewal for her, and she was ready to return to Colorado refreshed and ready to move onward and upward.
We stayed at Sherries, and got to enjoy leftovers for several days, while parked there. I also used the time to complete and print out the completed manuscript for my first Travel Book, Home On the Road: The Beginning. And, I printed out the rough draft of Business on the Road to send home with Dottie to edit. So this was a productive stop.
Always, when writing a book, there are the energies that become its identity, as with individuals, and I could tell that these energies had fulfilled their time.
Only one thing remained, as we headed through Portland, on our way to Redmond. We stopped at Mom’s convalescent home, and I went inside. She sat at a table and looked up, as I approached, and then a big smile crossed her face, and we exchanged hugs. I spent several hours with her, and she told me all about Dottie and Steve and Airica’s visit. “She brought me a lovely bouquet of carnations and roses,” Mom said with a big smile.
As usual, Van joined us for the evening meal, “I hope it’s not sandwiches,” Mom said. It was, and we laughed, because we always get sandwiches for the evening snack. But they were good, and we had a pleasant time together.
Now, with these completions handled, it finally seemed time to conclude this book, at its natural ending, and not the one I tried to enforce, when I was only wishing it was finished. Of course, when God writes the book, I have no way of knowing how it’s going to turn out; for instance the changes with Marquam’s business status. And yet, I can see how important the experience was for all concerned.
Somehow, it was all part of God’s Divine Plan, and I realized that there was yet more to
their health, finances, lifestyle and attitudes; as God guides. And I wait for and follow this Guidance in building and managing our business.”

And God never ceases to amaze me, as He guides us through our inner and outer journey, while we’re following His guidance and building our business. For instance, as mentioned in the Foreword, we were to meet with Lloyd and Dee, our new Distributors, while our upline the conclusion of this book, rather than starting a new book.
Our business Mission Statement reads: “To offer people the opportunity to improve sponsors, Dottie and Steve (who are also my daughter and son-in-law), were in town from Colorado.

The plan was to meet in Portland, when Lloyd and Dee returned from their trip to Michigan. But, while Van and I were attending a Training Program, Lloyd called to say he was already in town, and could we meet that day, as they were anxious to get back home to Prineville, in Central Oregon.

I communicated that everyone had other plans for the day, but then I asked Dottie and Steve if they would be willing to return home via Redmond and Bend, where they could cut across to Ontario and pick up their return to Colorado from there. With this in mind, I suggested that Lloyd and Dee return home, and we would all meet in Redmond the next day.

This is how it works, as we get on with business, while living in our motor home. We just take it with us, and go as God guides; and we are able to enjoy the view along the way.

This view, from Portland to Redmond, takes us through the woods, alongside snow-covered Mt. Hood, and then across the mesas in Central Oregon, with a breathtaking view of the snow-covered (but rapidly melting) Cascade Range, including Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters. How can anyone object to doing business under these conditions, even if it is Sunday?

“This is my Sunday Service,” I said to my husband, Van, as we rode in our air-conditioned chariot, looking out our picture windows. Then I added, “I think I’ll read my Daily Spiritual Reading.”

As I picked up my booklet and turned to the day, I laughed out loud, as I read: “I am free with the freedom of Spirit.”

And it went on to talk about one’s definition of freedom, such as to come and go, as one chooses, or to voice one’s opinion without fear of repercussions, and later that day, I was yelled at for something I had written; but I remembered that as a child of God, I am free in spirit, and I have the right to voice my opinion, as much as the other person does.

But, in the meantime, I had enjoyed the trip through the woods, past Bear Springs, where I used to stop for picnics, as a little girl; and where Van and I had parked in the campgrounds, in recent months. And then we came out onto the mesa, with a view of the Cascade Mountains and snow-covered Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters, among others.

To the east, we could see the hills on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation above Kah-nee-ta Hot Springs, the resort my adopted parents (who were also my paternal grandfather and his second wife) once owned, before it was bought back by the Indians. I’ve written so much about the carefree days of roaming the hills and swimming in the warm-water pool, or rafting down the Warm Springs River, suffice to say here, it was an idyllic place to live.

Now, we began to snake along the side of the canyon into the bottom, and passed the Warm Springs Indian Agency, where Dad Freeland was the physician at their new brick hospital. But that was long ago, and now we raced past the cattleguard, where we had lived in the once white house that now had peeling paint. I’ve often written of these memories too, so we will move right along toward our business meeting, across the Deschutes River with some rafters beginning their adventure toward the rapids further down the canyon, and back up the side of the canyon to another mesa with a similar view. However, this flat area, and for the next thirty-miles, on both sides of Madras (in another valley), is farming land, and extends all the way to Redmond, our destination; and even beyond, to Bend, before running into the forested mountains of The Cascades.

Redmond is considered the Banana Belt, because it is spared the severe cold of Bend, in the winter, and the extreme heat of the nearby deserts, in the summer. And with this pleasant climate, they are also blessed with an ongoing view of the distant snow-covered mountains. And yet, they are only fifteen-miles from Bend, which offers most large city conveniences.

But, our purpose this Sunday afternoon was a business meeting with Lloyd and Dee in order for Dottie and Steve to help with the forms and paperwork required for participating in our business. This was our first sign-up, but once we learned the procedure, we would handle this process.

We were fortunate that Dottie and Steve had driven out to Oregon, from Colorado, for her to attend her 30th High School Reunion, because they were able to help with our new Distributors.

God had been guiding this answered prayer from the time Lloyd knocked on our RV door, while parking in the Wal-Mart lot in Redmond. He wanted to ask us about our Holiday Rambler, but when he said his health was ailing, I said, “You’ve knocked on the right door.” And we told him about our products. And, as he heard about the business opportunity, he wanted to know more, so we accompanied him to an Introductory Meeting. There he bought some products and asked to sign-up with the business.
In the meantime we had been able to give him more information, and taking him through the first steps of the lengthy sign-up process. Now, Dottie and Steve completed the steps, and then went on their way to Colorado, and we, again, parked at Lloyd and Dee’s, to give them further support and training.

Life Often Gets in the Way of Business

Dee happily entertained their grandson, Derrick, who had returned from Vancouver with them. However, she had arranged for a local boy, Jarred, to keep him company, and the seven-year-olds played in the tree-house or shot arrows most of the day.

However, Derrick asked his Grandpa to make an airplane, and Lloyd willingly obliged by turning out perfectly crafted bi-plane, and later, upon request, he fashioned two wooden wheels that really worked.

He managed to spend this time for his grandson, despite the fact that his part-time RV and boat repair business had been put on hold, while they were away. So he busied himself with completing several jobs, in his spare time. But he was also involved with Van, who was getting Lloyd’s new computer and Fax setup working properly, contrary to its unwillingness to cooperate.

In the meantime, I began correcting and revising Book Two, Home on the Road: Moving On, in my Travel Series; about our first Big Trip, to Southern Texas and back. I was happy to have time in one place, and hooked up to electricity, for this purpose, while everyone else was otherwise preoccupied.

As often discussed amongst Distributors, life does seem to get in the way of building their business. I think it’s because we are trying to turn the momentum around from the direction we were headed, with an already busy life, and the energy mass can be reluctant to change course. Life seems to get into a comfort zone of conformity and familiarity, and must be urged to allow time and space for the new lifestyle. So, it can take concentrated effort to keep on purpose with this new business; not only needed the products and income, but wanting it, too.

For instance, Lloyd faced constant interruptions from folks stopping by for one reason or another. But, he really wanted this business, and he made sure that he set aside time for Van to add further input.
Lloyd and Dee were going back to the Portland area to return Derrick to his parents, and for Lloyd’s medical checkup at the VA. We were excited about the results, in order to see his progress, since being on our products.

But we would have to wait four days, as they had family activities with their daughters, and their son, who would be flying in from Texas for a few days.

In the meantime, Lloyd had given us directions to Walton Lake, a campground in the nearby mountains, and we took the time for another break in our business activities.

CHAPTER 26
A MATTER OF TIMING

When it’s Over, it’s Over

“What are those little white flakes on the window?” Van asked, as we rolled down the mountainside, midst thick clouds and heavy rain.

I steadied my gaze on the front window, and gasped in horror, “It’s snowflakes. Get me out of here!” The last thing I wanted was to get stuck in the snow at 5,000 ft.

I couldn’t believe that the idyllic weekend at Lake Walton had shifted so drastically overnight. As the saying goes, “when it’s over, it’s over,” and this venture was definitely over, as I said, “Thank you, God, for your perfect timing, again. Now, please get us safely off the mountain.”

Slowly, Van inched Freedom around the winding hills and down the mountainside, and with the decreasing altitude, the rain lightened, and soon the snowflakes stopped. Then we returned to the main highway into Prineville, and after the slower pace in the mountains, even this small town seemed fast. And the rain had become a sprinkle, as blue sky peeked out from the thick clouds, with a hint of sunshine on the way.

We pulled into Lloyd’s ample driveway and parked, at the side of his workshop, rather than pulling around into the field that brought us to the backyard, where we had been parked. I thought it best to avoid crossing the wet grass, and besides, there’s a strong possibility that we would be leaving in a few days, depending on God’s timing.

First, would be that our products had arrived, and second, we wanted to make sure Lloyd was ready to solo with his business. Soon after we arrived, Lloyd came to the door, with our package in hand, so that was okay. Well, not exactly; several items were back ordered. Hmmm, now what does that mean? It might come within the next two days, before our departure, or it could be forwarded. Time would tell.

As we talked with Lloyd, he indicated a desire to move slowly with building his business, taking his time, studying his Career Manual, and talking with people, as he felt God guidance. This meant that, after the next two night’s meetings, we would be free to move onward.
Later in the afternoon, we went into his house and watched a video titled, A Matter of Time that he’d received with his sign-up packet. We hadn’t seen the new marketing tool, and enjoyed the opportunity.

I laughed, as the video unfolded, because it featured clocks, timers, a time-clock and an hour glass; all woven into the thesis of using time for yourself and family, rather than being a slave to an employer or corporation’s demands.

This reminded me of a booklet I once wrote about Divine Timing, which also featured clocks and watches, as visual aids. One of the featured stories told of author, lecturer Marcus Bach, who wrote I, Monty, about a butterfly. He said that his publisher refused the book, because of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a recent, popular book written by his nephew, Richard Bach.

Marcus said that he’d been praying about this book, and then he walked through the rain, past a church, on his way home from work. As he passed the church, he noticed a large banner on a bulletin board, advertising a German play. The words translated “God’s Time is the Best Time”; words I often remember. As the story goes, he eventually took a trip to Hawaii, met an illustrator who added the artwork for the book, and eventually it was published and became very popular. The point being that it was all a matter of God’s time, not his.
That evening, we accompanied Lloyd and Dee another Training in Bend (about 30 miles away), and one of the new Distributors shared that for ten years she has worked 10-hours a day, six days a week. We were all aghast that anyone would tolerate such conditions, especially when she said that this demanding schedule had denied her the desirable time with her young daughter.

As she spoke, we could see that her “need” and “want” for this business was at a high level, and with her enthusiasm and approach, while telling her story, told us that soon she would be freed from the slave labor market, and enjoying her extra time.
Lloyd, also, shared his story about his remarkable health improvements within the one month he’d been on the products, and we all agreed that he, too, soon would be able to enjoy pain-free retirement, which was his reason for signing-up with the company and taking the products. And now, Dee was taking the products and attending the meetings, and would be supporting Lloyd their business.

Keeping Balance

In the meantime, I continued to correct and revise my writing projects, with Van helping to complete the formatting into another book. I was thankful to have two books in my Travel Series completed and ready for Dottie’s final edit.

Adding balance to our weekend, Dee and Lloyd invited us on two fun excursions to Prineville Reservoir, each about 17 to 19 miles from their house.

The first adventure came Sunday, after church and a delicious BBQ chicken dinner prepared by them. Once we drove out their driveway and turned right, past the County Park, we were out of town and into a landscape of juniper trees and sagebrush intermittent with cleared farmland and ranches. And the Crooked River, which overflowed from the reservoir, ambled through the valley.

At one point we smelled and tasted peppermint, as Lloyd explained that they were harvesting peppermint, and Dee added, “Once they fire up the pots (for brewing it), they don’t turn them off, until all the fields are harvested.”

We were surprised at the number of homes scattered over the hillsides, amongst the junipers, all of which have to be reached by passing Lloyd and Dee’s home. This accounted for the amount of traffic that seemed to be going no place.

However, this three-day weekend accounted for much more traffic, as we soon discovered, when we were passing numerous rather primitive campgrounds, nestled under the junipers, along the Crooked River, in this Recreational area; and people were fishing along the banks, or wading in the river.

Now the terrain had changed, as the valley narrowed to a canyon, and the rimrocks, on the far side, towered above us; and more interesting rock formations began to appear on the left, and even below the rim-rock on the right.

Eventually, the road wound upward, and soon we saw the earthen dam, with its empty spillway (the water only flows over the top in the springtime), and the rushing waters of the river forcing its way from beneath the dam, in order to continue its interrupted flow.

Lloyd drove across the top of the dam, as we watched the boaters and water skiers zipping along this end of the fifteen-mile waterway. And then they both exclaimed in surprise, as they noticed that both sides of the road, on the other side of the dam, and heading up the hill, were lined with vehicles; many with empty boat trailers.

Dee said, “They never did this, before. They’ve made a boat launch here.”

And as we continued up the hill, past a fork-in-the-road, Lloyd noted that the highway that eventually lead to Bend, had been paved, allowing for much more traffic. However, many of the boaters had come by their home, too.

At the top of the hill, the pavement on the road we had taken ended, and Lloyd explained that the gravel road would eventually come out on Highway 20, but it was a route we didn’t plan to pursue, so he turned around and we returned home.

The next afternoon, Lloyd interrupted my writing to invite us on the completion of the Prineville Reservoir excursion, then he added, “We’ll leave about 4:30, and when we return, we’ll have a hamburger BBQ.”

I couldn’t resist that invitation, and I was ready to conclude my day at the computer when 4:30 rolled around.

This time we drove a block toward town, then turned right and passed through the outskirts, and the road to the small town of Paulina (about 50 miles away), but we continued on the road toward the Reservoir. Then Lloyd swerved onto another road, and said, “I want to show you another development along this loop.”

To our amazement, we could see hundreds of rooftops peeking above the junipers, and we even passed an Airpark being built, with sites overlooking the distant snow-covered Cascade Mountains.

We’d been talking about their plans for the future, which included selling their home, traveling, and buying a smaller place with a workshop for Lloyd, somewhere near their family in the Portland area.

I exclaimed, “With all this development, your place is going to increase in value within the next few years. There’s the traffic going past your door, on the other route, and this road is only a block away. It’s bound to happen, if you can only wait.”

They’d become discouraged, with past efforts to sell, but this drive seemed to revive their realization of the possibilities, and their dreams began to come alive again.

But the drive was far from over, as we circled back to the main road, and continued passing more and more homes, tucked amongst the trees, or in the open valleys. We even drove through a small community with a small store and cafe, and I again, exclaimed, “This is the only shopping area between here and Bend or Redmond, and Prineville only has two small supermarkets. It’s bound to happen, and you’re in the perfect location.”

In the middle of my comments, we headed upward, and then came up above the massive reservoir that sprawled in all directions; much different than the other end, which was surrounded by the sides of the hills, where the water had been backed up to form the reservoir. This side had beaches, and a huge State Park that would have been filled with RV’s, earlier, but most everyone had returned home on this last day of the three-day-weekend, which made driving through the park and to the boat launch, much easier, as we passed a few stragglers, not in any hurry to end their recreation time.

It was difficult to grasp the size of this lake, because when it was forming, it had filled the valley, and eventually worked its way behind hills and into more valleys, canyons and ravines in this area that’s filled with them. So, as Lloyd drove around hillsides, and up and over mountains, we kept seeing more water, and another branch of the State Park; and some of the beaches and hillsides were filled with private homes. He drove us up to the top of one mountain, where homes perched like eagle’s nests, with a spectacular view of the lake, hills, and even the land above and beyond the lake, on the other side.

All this view overlooks dry terrain dotted with more juniper and sagebrush, and rock formations; and the lake in the middle of it all. Yet, Dee and I agreed that we wouldn’t want to live here, because it gets snow in the winter, and the driving would be hazardous. So we admired the hearty souls who challenged the elements to make themselves a home here.

As we began our return trip, I observed, “Coloradoans would be perfectly at home here,” and added, “you might advertise in the Denver Post or Rocky Mountain News, when you’re really serious about selling your place. And I continued, “Let’s face it, other than the lake, this area has no water; it’s a desert, and it’s very dry, but your place sits alongside the Crooked River, in a fertile green valley, so it’s very desirable. Besides, it’s in town and along a well-traveled road.”

Neither of them said much, but when we drove back home, past the County Fairgrounds (across from their acreage), they began talking about the fate of the Fairgrounds, and Dee, referring to an old-timer on the Board, said “He said the Fairground has seen its heyday.”

I couldn’t believe my ears, as I replied, “Its heyday hasn’t even happened. The best is yet to be for this area. Wait and see. I’ve been right about every place I’ve ever had this kind of feeling about. If I’d been able to invest in the places I predicted about, I’d be wealthy today.”

We agreed, “It’s a matter of timing.”

And Lloyd said, “But I don’t want to wait that much longer. I want to sell, now.”

I said, “I don’t blame you. There’s a lot of life out there, and now is the time to enjoy it, especially since you’re feeling much better on these products.”

We’d arrived home, and I helped with preparations for the BBQ, as Dee slipped a frozen homemade apple pie into the oven. Soon its tantalizing aroma joined with the cooking hamburgers outside on the grill, tended by Lloyd; and with our combined efforts, we enjoyed a BBQ that surpassed most.

It had been a memorable Labor Day weekend, as we had observed the areas where the vacationers played, without enduring the hassle of ants and heat and crowds. And we were now complete on seeing the special scenic and recreational areas around Prineville.
It’s Time to Say “Goodbye”

We’d enjoyed the hospitality and fellowship with Lloyd and Dee, and we had added blessings to their lives, too, as Van had helped Lloyd get his new computer set up, and we had both contributed training and support for their business. It seemed as if their dreams for the future could become a reality, as they continued sharing with others about the benefits of the products, and the feasibility of the business.

The last morning was spent preparing to get on the road, again, as Van and I looked forward to the next phase of our Business on the Road, and having fun along the way. What a lifestyle!
Finally, our business in Oregon was concluded. With this in mind, I look forward to our new adventures on our inner and outer journey in my next book in the Inner Freedom on the Road Travel Series.